Ruth Jean (Root) Mercer passed away on Nov. 24, 2017. She was born on Oct. 13, 1924 in Great Falls, MT to George and Christina (Beattie) Root. Ruth was raised in Great Falls. She attended Roosevelt Grade School, Great Falls Jr High and graduated from Great Falls High School in 1942. Her focus in high school was on secretarial and business classes. She became very proficient in shorthand dictation and typing. It was fascinating to watch her type 120 wpm on a manual typewriter! She also participated in sports, cheerleading and choir. After high school graduation Ruth attended Montana State College in Havre, MT planning to major in Commercial Business and become a high school teacher. However, due to family responsibilities and WWII, she returned home the following year.
Back in Great Falls Ruth worked for both the Milwaukee Railroad and the Great Northern Railroad as a clerk. In Nov. of 1944 she enlisted in the U.S. Navy W.A.V.E.S. She traveled by train to Hunter College in Bronx, NY for basic training and then to Stillwater, OK for additional training. When she completed her training she was stationed in San Diego, CA as a Navy Yeoman working as a secretary for naval officers. While attending services and church activities for the military at the First Baptist Church in San Diego she met Harold (Pat) Mercer, a sailor from Haynie, WA. They were married Oct. 9, 1945 at the First Baptist Church in San Diego. Shortly after that they both returned to civilian life and moved to a small farm in Haynie, WA.
Pat and Ruth lived in Haynie for 18 years and raised four children. Ruth was a city girl who had to adjust to living on a farm. Ruth was a hard worker who picked strawberries and worked at the Birch Bay carnival concessions to earn extra money in the early years of her marriage. Later Ruth worked for Yates Auto Shop in Blaine as a clerk. It paid $1.00/hr but was far better than picking strawberries. She was then hired by Nelle & Hollinger, a Blaine attorney and a realtor. It was one of their customers who suggested that she take the Civil Service test and apply for a job at the Blaine (Peace Arch) border station. Ruth did well on her test and was hired as a clerk working for the U.S. Immigration Services. She began as a GS3 level clerk and ended her Civil Service career as a Customs Import Specialist GS11. She worked and studied hard to make these advancements.
In 1965 Ruth and Pat moved to Blaine where they lived until 1986. After they retired they moved to Bothell, WA to be closer to their children and grandchildren. After Pat’s death in 2008 Ruth sold her house in Bothell and moved to Brittany Park Senior Living in Woodinville, WA and later to Aegis Assisted Living in Kirkland, WA.
Ruth’s life was centered around her family and over the years she hosted many family gatherings at her homes in Blaine and Bothell. Even though there wasn’t much money in the early years of her marriage Ruth always made holidays a special time, especially Christmas. She always managed to save enough money to take family road trips each summer moving from a tent, to a truck and camper and eventually to several different motorhomes. After Ruth and Pat retired they traveled throughout the U.S. in their motorhome. They also drove their motorhome to Alaska, throughout Canada and to Mexico. Many of those trips included their children and grandchildren. Other highlights of their travels included Hawaii, Spain, Portugal and a cruise through the Panama Canal.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Pat Mercer, her parents and her brothers George and Jim Root, her son-in-law Terry Lane and daughter-in-law Colleen Mercer. Ruth is survived by her brother and sister-in-law Norm and Jeanna Root, daughter Nancy (Mike) Werdal , son Jim (Ann) Mercer, son Don Mercer , daughter Marilyn (Michael) Kelly ; grandchildren, Jeff (Heather) Werdal, Rebecca(Robert) Neumann, Jon Mercer, Stephen Mercer, Brian (Sarah) Mercer, Christina (Chris) Meyers, Ryan Lane, Kellianne Lane; great-grandchildren Evan, Hayden, Emma , Andrew, Ashton ,Addison, Phineas & Tobin, numerous nephews and nieces and her beloved cat Tillie.
Memorials can be given in Ruth’s name to Pasado’s Safe Haven Animal & Humane Society Shelter P.O. Box 171 Sultan, WA 98294 or any animal shelter of your choosing.