Ruth Miriam Canfield was born October 19,1921 in Napa, CA to Emil and Goldy Swanson, who owned a painting supplies store. Emil not only owned the store but was a painting contractor, and a Methodist preacher. Ruth, her sister and 3 brothers grew up in northern California during the Great Depression. She graduated from high school in Napa and joined the WAVES with the US Navy as a telephone switchboard operator, becoming a member of the Greatest Generation. She was honorably discharged in 1944. She worked at a factory, then as a receptionist, and later as a telephone operator for the US Air Force at Lake Charles, Louisiana. In 1947, Ruth met George Canfield on a blind date and they married shortly thereafter. They had 2 daughters, Lynda Holt and Gail Bell, and David Canfield from George’s earlier marriage. They moved several times, to California in Napa, then to Cupertino, and later to Salem, Oregon, and then in 1992 to join their daughters who were already living in Montana.
Ruth had many skills and interests. She was a superb baker of pastries, made many candies at Christmas which were always begged for by everyone who knew her. She excelled in knitting and sewing, was a creative artist, and was an accomplished driver and pool player. She was a clever person, a constant reader and a free thinker. She always found the best in everybody. She loved the outdoors and devoted herself to gardening. She always grew a large and diverse garden, loved healthy foods and natural medicines. There is little doubt this contributed to her long life.
In early 2020, Ruth became a great, great grandmother. She had 16 great grandchildren, and 7 grandchildren. She passed peacefully December 7, 2020 from natural causes in Stevensville, Montana with her daughters by her side, shortly after her 99th birthday. Ruth will continue to be missed by all who knew her. She was kind, grateful and a loving person who touched the hearts of all around her. It was an honor to know her and be accepted into her circle of family and friends.