Ruby A. Gowin Schoenwald, 93, of Glenburn and Minot, died Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in a Garrison nursing home.
She was born April 7, 1919, near Wheatland, Wyo., to Aaron and Florentine (Van Ortwick) Locke. She was the oldest of eight children. Ruby spent her first five years on a large cattle ranch in Wyoming, where her dad was foreman and her mother was a cook. They moved to California in 1924, living first in Altadena, then Temple City.
Ruby accepted Jesus as her Savior at age 11 during special meetings at the Presbyterian Church her family attended. The meetings were led by an itinerant evangelist, Harry Rimmer, who did scientific displays along with his talks. Years later, Ruby referred to Rimmer's presentation as "spectacular."
She attended Santa Anita Grade School, graduated from Woodrow Wilson Junior High (grades 7-10), and attended Pasadena Junior College.
She met Harold Gowin when he went from North Dakota to California to visit his sister, Caroline, who was a neighbor of the Lockes and whose two young daughters Ruby often looked after. Harold and Ruby were married July 16, 1936, at the Lincoln Avenue Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, Calif. For several years they traveled back and forth, helping Harold's dad on his homestead near Glenburn in the summers and living in California in the winters, where Harold worked with Ruby's dad in construction. Eventually, they moved to the family farm, where they made their permanent home and raised their five children.
The Depression years were ending and the small crop they got that first year was a marked improvement over the drought years of the "Dirty Thirties." Although dust storms were still frequent, they were getting fewer. They were plagued with severe thunderstorms and, one year, hordes of flying grasshoppers darkened the sky. Ruby also told of the record snows they had in the winter of 1948-1949, when the National Guard helped them and other farmers clear roads to reach livestock with feed. A plane would drop mail to the stranded farmers after circling their home to alert them.
Ruby always had a big garden on the farm and did a lot of canning. She was an excellent cook and enjoyed serving to family, friends, and whoever stopped by. She was an expert at packing lunches and full course meals to take to the men working in the fields. Many times she was called upon to bottle feed or care for baby calves, lambs, or pigs.
Ruby and Harold were 4-H leaders for several years. She taught sewing, cooking, and other homemaking skills. She was a member of the Tatman Homemakers Club for over 55 years, holding various offices, and also served as Ward County Homemakers Council president for four years. She was Ward County Education Chairman for the American Cancer Society for four years.
She and Harold joined the First Baptist Church of Glenburn in 1942, where she served on various boards and committees. She was a Sunday School teacher for many years and was pianist for 35 years, retiring in December 2007. She was also active in the Baptist Women's Mission Circle.
She and her husband were foster parents for six years. Harold passed away Dec. 22, 1985, after 49 1/2 years of marriage. Ruby and her daughter, Myrna, published a collection of Harold's poems, songs, and life story in 1988.
In 1986, Ruby became a Community Hospice program volunteer secretary. It was through this activity that she met Leonard Schoenwald, whose late wife had been a hospice patient. Ruby and Leonard were married April 14, 1990, at First Baptist Church in Glenburn. They made their home in Minot. Ruby continued with her hospice work for four more years. She also led two Bible studies at Trinity Nursing Home and served as director of the Parker Senior Citizens for several years.
Ruby and Leonard moved to Edgewood Vista in December 2007 and the following year, due to declining health, she moved to Emerald Court. In June 2011, she moved to Benedictine Living Center in Garrison.
Ruby was a wonderful Christian role model for her family. She enjoyed writing letters, reading, visiting with family and friends, Bible studies, and witnessing to others of her strong faith in God.
Ruby is survived by: her husband, Leonard, Two Harbors, Minn.; son and daughter-in-law, Steven and Verna Gowin, Hazen; daughters and sons-in-law, Alice and Robert Stewart, Wheeling, W.Va., R. Aileen Carl, Inglis, Fla., Myrna and Fred Mayer, Glenburn, and Gayle and Charles Proffit, Peyton, Colo.; 12 grandchildren, Scott (Michele) Stewart, of West Virginia, Kelly (Mike) Gear, of West Virginia, Brooks (Nancy) Armstrong, of Florida, Corbin Armstrong, of Indiana, Thomas (Rebecca) Gowin, of North Dakota, Jeanne (Christopher) Karalus, of North Dakota, Jeffrey (Barb) Mayer, of North Dakota, Michael (Nancy) Mayer, of Wyoming, Hugh (Jane) Mayer, of North Dakota, Kris (Daran) Wyckoff, of Washington, David (Karla) Proffit, of Colorado, and Melody (Richard) Snow, of Colorado; 23 great-grandchildren, five stepgrandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; 11 stepgreat-great-grandchildren; Leonard's children and their spouses, Debra and Don Olsen, Two Harbors, Minn., Wally Schoenwald, Minot, Arlis and Steve Hutchison, Panama City, Fla., and Timm Schoenwald, Aurora, Colo., and their extended families; brothers, John Locke, Hollister, Calif., Thomas (Paula) Locke, Kerrville, Texas, and Ernest (Julie) Locke, Colorado Springs, Colo.; sister, Opal Walton, Coon Rapids, Minn.; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Harold Gowin; grandson, Tyler Armstrong; great-granddaughter, Aurora Proffit; brothers, Noble (1915-1918) and A. David Locke; and sisters, Lilly Blomberg and Naomi Short.
Funeral service: 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan., 26, 2013 in Glenburn Baptist Church, Glenburn.
Interment: Bethany (Swedish) Lutheran Cemetery, rural Glenburn.
Visitation: Friday, Jan. 25, from 2 to 7 p.m., in Thomas Family Funeral Home, Minot.
Those wishing to sign the online memorial register or share memories are invited to use the expressions of sympathy section at (www.thomasfamilyfuneralhome.com).