Ruth Esther (May) Lepiane passed away peacefully on July 14, 2013, at Walla Walla General Hospital with her beloved husband, John, by her side.
She was born on May 6, 1922, in Monroe, South Dakota, to Edward and Kathrina Thompson May and lived a rich, full life. The youngest of four children, Ruth grew up helping to raise corn and sheep on her family’s farm. She lived in South Dakota until she was 21, when she and her older sister, Erma, came west to begin a new life in Washington State. With jobs so plentiful during the war, Ruth and Erma begin working at the Post Exchange of the Walla Walla Army Air Base, where Ruth made and served coffee to the soldiers. She worked at the Air Base until the war ended.
In 1944, Ruth met John Lepiane, the man who would become her life-long sweetheart. They were married on November 17, 1946, and enjoyed a long and loving relationship. She was John’s “Ruthie May” and, although she put up a fuss, secretly loved it when he teased her, something that continued throughout their marriage of nearly 67 years.
Ruth and John had three children, the beginning of a large family that would become their pride and joy. Family was Ruth’s life—she loved the dinners, get-togethers and trips that came with being a mother and grandmother.
Ruth left a legacy of love for God to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchild. She began each day praying and reading her Bible. Her relationship with God was central to her life—her love for Him was evident in everything she did.
She is legendary in her family for her love of photography. Never one to miss a photo, Ruth would often spot something through the window on family road trips and call out, “Stop the car, John!” and he happily obliged. She loved photographing wildlife, but especially birds. She took hundreds of bird photos while bird watching and on family vacations. Wildlife magazines bought several of her bird photos and her photos twice graced the cover of The Gleaner.
Ruth’s hobbies also included gardening, creating floral arrangements for her church, rock hunting and polishing, and spending time in nature. She also enjoyed playing the piano, and, as a young woman, taught herself to play the guitar.
Ruth’s family will always remember her spunk. She kept a sling-shot in her kitchen drawer to scare off hawks that came to eat the song birds at her feeder. She also once walked right up to a grizzly bear on a trip to Canada and took his photo while her family hid behind the car nearby.
Her family will miss her ready smile, sense of humor, infectious laugh, and her loving, affectionate nature. We are anxious to experience the blessing of her presence again in Heaven.
Ruth is survived by her husband, John; her three
children, Dennis (Carole), Annette Jeske, and Darrel (Barbara); five grandchildren, Kimberley (Micaiah) Kuzma, Tara Jeske, Jaymie (Jared) Doll, Sierra Lepiane, and Marshall Lepiane; one great-grandchild, Gianna Kuzma; siblings, Edna Brandt of Weimar, Calif., Harold May of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Erma Torretta, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends may pay their respects from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at Mountain View-Colonial DeWitt, 1551 Dalles Military Road, Walla Walla, Washington. The funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Thursday, July 18, 2013, at the Village Seventh-day Adventist Church, 12th and Larch Streets, College Place. Chaplain Walt Meske and Pastor Jeff Kinne will officiate. The graveside service and vault interment will follow in Blue Mountain Memorial Gardens, 300 SE Myra Road, College Place.
Memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warrior Project or SonBridge Community Center through the funeral home.
Family and friends may write memories and sign the online guestbook at www. mountainview-colonialdewitt.com.