Ruth Marion Rippey Eccles Purdy, 92, of Picabo, Idaho, a former Baker City resident, died Feb. 26, 2006.
Her memorial service will be at 1 p.m., Saturday at the Community Campus (old Wood River High School) Auditorium at Hailey, Idaho. Internment will be at the Picabo Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to a “Celebration of Ruth’s Life” at the Picabo Store immediately after the internment.
The daughter of Clark and Lottie Rippey, she was born on June 29, 1913, at Portland. Soon after, the family moved to Baker City, where her father worked for the Railway Mail Service on the train route from Baker City to Pocatello, Idaho, and her mother ran a rooming house.
Ruth graduated from Baker High School and went on to the University of Oregon at Eugene where she became a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority.
She met and married Homer Eccles at Baker City in 1935. They had a son, Gordon Eccles, on Oct. 10, 1937. They were later divorced.
Ruth and her young son moved to Boise, where she did secretarial work at the Western Hotel chain’s Owyhee Hotel. She later transferred to the company’s Boise Hotel and became the executive secretary to the manager, Virgil McGee.
She met Leonard “Bud” Purdy in 1952 and they were married on Dec. 30, 1952. From a city life with one child, she suddenly found herself on a ranch at Picabo, Idaho, with four children. Bud had two sons, Nick and Mark, and a daughter, Kris.
Talk about a culture shock! As always she accepted her new challenge with complete dedication, and she and Bud celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary last year.
Ruth became the postmaster in Picabo in 1955 and served in that capacity until her retirement some 30 years later. During her tenure with the post office she was elected as the president of the Idaho chapter of the National Association of Postmasters in 1966.
It was quite an accomplishment for a postmaster from the little town of Picabo. The chapter included all of the postmasters in the state.
In addition to their lives on the ranch and her work with the post office, she and Bud purchased the Silver Creek Supply General Store, grain elevator, lumber yard, and petroleum distribution business in Picabo in 1959. Along with maintaining all of the ranch books and accounts and the post office job, she then took on the bookkeeping chores of the new business.
She continued to be active in the businesses until well into her late 80s. Ruth was active in a variety of charities and enjoyed helping by providing financial assistance to them as well as many local individuals.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her daughter in-law, Betty Eccles; and one grandchild, Will Neal.
Survivors include her husband, Bud; her children and their spouses, Gordon Eccles, Nick and Sharon Purdy, Mark and Betty Purdy, and her daughter, Kris and Lou Wenslawski; 11 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.
Ruth touched a lot of lives through her daily interaction at the post office and store. She will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.
Memorial contributions may be made to The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence, P.O. Box 3216, Hailey, Idaho 83333; Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 3900, Ketchum, ID 83340; or your local hospice organization.
The Wood River Chapel of Hailey, Idaho, is in charge of arrangements.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, March 3, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor