A Celebration of Life Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. July 14, 2014, at Greenlawn Southwest Cemetery Chapel, 2739 Panama Lane, Bakersfield, for Ruth Erwin who passed away July 5, 2014, at home in Lake Isabella, with her husband Don at her side. Humble, gracious and dedicated to her family and friends, Ruth was a grand lady who loved her husband, raised five great men, and instilled in each of us faith, values, and a reason to carry on. She was a loving wife, mother, and friend, and will be missed by all who were lucky enough to know her.
Ruth was born November 30, 1928 in Medford, Massachusetts to Albert and Eleanor Flaherty. Ruth moved from Massachusetts to Arizona with her family when she was a teenager, graduating from Phoenix Union High School. After graduation she moved to Fresno where she met and married her first husband. They later divorced, and Ruth was a single mother of two boys until 1966 when she met and wed Don Erwin, who also had two sons. Ruth and Don blended their two broken families into one happy one, and they soon added a fifth son whom they named Scott Patrick. Even though it is never easy to raise five boys, especially in merged families, the Erwin clan flourished.
After their boys were grown, Don's career meant moves to San Francisco and then to Dallas, but after retirement Ruth and Don found their way back to the Central Valley, close to their family and friends. Ruth spent the last years of her life in the Kern River Valley with Don, her loving husband of over forty-eight years
Ruth was never one to be content with just letting life pass her by. She loved to travel and visit new places, and took full advantage of sightseeing opportunities when she accompanied her husband on his many business trips. She especially liked Honolulu, San Antonio and New Orleans. Ruth and Don also made numerous recreational trips together, many of which were road trips in various RV's; eventually covering most of the U. S. In Later years they also went on conducted tours to Alaska, Switzerland, Scotland and England.
Another thing close to Ruth's heart was music. She grew up on the forties and fifties "popular" music, but loved much of the later traditional music as well, even developing a taste for country western. She always had a tune on her lips, and Don remembers that he could always locate Ruth in a supermarket or large store by tuning in to the sound of her softly singing or humming a favorite tune to herself. Ruth liked to sing with others as well, and was a member of the Mother Singers and Music Belles for many years.
Ruth also loved needlecrafts, with needlepoint being her all-around favorite. This is evidenced by almost every wall in her home being covered with results of her hobby. One of her great joys, however, was to share her handiwork with family and friends.
But her greatest pleasure came from spending time with her family, greeting each with her signature big hug and kiss, and breaking bread with them, especially Chinese food at Bill Lee's. And, if one ventured up the Kern River Canyon, pizza at the Pizza Factory at Lake Isabella was a given. At holiday dinners Ruth was happy to be the center of attention, and enjoyed having a glass of wine while reminiscing about the good times the family shared. Family dinners just won't be the same without her sweet, smiling face.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and sisters, sons Ronald Erwin, and Eric "Rick" Erwin, grandson Nolan Smith, and granddaughter Melanie Erwin. She is survived by her sister Jean Flaherty Sharp of Glendale, AZ; husband Donald Erwin; sons Erik Jensen, Mark Jensen and Scott Erwin; ten grandchildren and seven great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A special thanks to Optimal Hospice of Lake Isabella, and especially to the in-home aide, for the loving and tender care during Ruth's last days and hours, thus making her journey easier.
Visitation will precede the Celebration of Life Mass, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, Ruth's memory may be further honored by making a memorial donation in her name to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America at 866-232-8484.
"Love you Grandma. All your boys will be good with you watching over."