Ruth Charlotte Tollackson Wahus Hanly

Ruth was born on July 17, 1917, in Seattle, Washington.  She returned to Spokane as an infant with her parents, Gilbert and Pauline, so her father could “show her off”, as she would often say.

When Ruth was in the third grade, her school, Lincoln, burned down.  Ruth and Phil watched the school burn through a window in the upstairs of their home.  After the fire Ruth and Phil had to go to area churches for class until a new school could be built.  Phil attended second grade in a Welsh church near the rock that he climbed, which is next to the present-day Spokane Veteran’s Nursing Home.  Ruth’s fourth grade class was held at Emmanuel Lutheran at 4th and Pine.  Her fifth grade class met at a church on Cowley Street.  Her sixth grade class was held at the German Hall which still stands on 3rd Avenue between Division and Browne. The new Lincoln School was built at 5th and Browne.  Ruth and Phil attended there through the eighth grade. Lincoln School was demolished in 2004 to make way for St. Anne’s Children’s Home.

Part of the home training in those days meant that daughters helped their mothers and sons helped their dads.  In this manner the children learned what was needed to operate a household.  When Gilbert and Phil would leave, Ruth had to dust and help with the housecleaning, cooking, baking and such.  Ruth once was able to accompany Phil and their dad on a trip when Gilbert wanted to go to the lumber company east of Post Falls.

Ruth graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1936.

Going to church was a big part of Ruth’s life, and she and her family attended Bethany Lutheran Free Church.  When she was sixteen, she taught the preschool class in Sunday school.  Thereafter she taught Sunday school at the lower grade levels for many years.

When Ruth was a teenager, she attended the Dorcas Group at church.  When Pastor Oftedal was serving at Bethany, Mrs. Oftedal would take a couple of teenage girls with her when she would visit neighbors of the church and invite them to worship.  Ruth accompanied Mrs. Oftedal on several occasions.

After graduating from high school, Ruth wanted to attend Eastern Washington College of Education.  Pauline told her that they could only afford to send her to business school.  Gilbert was proud of the fact that Ruth graduated early from Kinman Business School, and excelled in the many secretarial skills, including typing and shorthand.

Ruth’s first job was at FB Connelly Company which sold small appliances.  Her second job was at JI Case Company which sold farm machinery.  Ruth liked her boss at Case.  He would stand in front of her at her desk and say “Well, Rufus, how’s it going?”  When the Case Company built a new headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and since Ruth got to know Portland on her visits with the youth group for conventions, she decided to move there and work in the corporate HQ.  She was a secretary to the branch manager.

Ruth met Angus (Jack) Wahus in Portland at the church they both attended.  She had started attending the Lutheran Free Church in north Portland, but it required a couple of bus changes and a good deal of time to get there.  She then started attending Central Lutheran which was within walking distance of the boarding house where she lived.  Ruth lived in Portland for three years.

Ruth married Jack on January 7, 1943 at Bethany Lutheran in Spokane.  Jack was serving overseas with the Army so Ruth moved back to Spokane, where she went to work for James Smyth Plumbing Company.

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