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Obituary, Ruth Warfel, 91

 

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Ruth Warfel

Ruth Warfel passed away at age 91 in Klamath Falls, Ore. on May 21, 2014, with family at her side. She was a large part of Wrangell for over 80 years.

Ruth was born in Bellingham, Wash. on March 8, 1923, and adopted by Henry and Gertrude Scribner from Seattle, Wash. Ruth had fond memories of Henry taking her to watch the Mariners baseball team at Safeco Field and Gertrude taking her to Pike Street Market for fresh produce.

When Ruth was three years old, they moved to Wrangell for a brief time while Henry went to work fishing. They eventually moved back to Seattle. As adventurists, however, they returned to Wrangell in September 1935 when Ruth was 12.

Some of her first friends, later to become known as the "lunch bunch," were Mary McCormick, Eloise Harding, Lorraine "Pinky" Sundberg, Arlene Shain, Toni Wheeler and Lenora Moore.

In 1939, at age 16, Ruth worked at the Wrangell Hotel Cafe and the cannery.

During the "Big Band" Era, the ANB Hall was the gathering place for weekend "jams" and dancing. Maggie Eyon played the piano and invited a new trumpet player from Chicago, Russ Warfel, to join their

band. Ruth always claimed that Russ could play the trumpet far better than he could dance. They fell in love and were married at the Presbyterian Church on Ruth's 18th birthday, March 8, 1941.

Russ was working for Campbell Brothers when they began planning their family. Their son, Frank, was born on February 28, 1942, and daughter Berniece was born on July 17, 1943, both at the Bishop Row Hospital.

In 1948, as one of the lady Elkettes, Ruth helped form the "Can Can Dancers" and the "Tipsy Trio" group who performed their shows during the tourist season.

Russ began working for Seattle Hardware in 1952, moving Ruth and the children to Auburn, Wash. Within a couple years they relocated to Olympia, Wash. and started a hardware business of their own.

In May of 1955 their daughter Teri was born.

Homesick for Wrangell, they moved back in the spring of 1969, where Ruth worked in bookkeeping at the cannery with Lenora Moore. In May of 1972, Ruth found her true "employment calling" with her wonderful crew and friends at Alaska Airlines.

After retiring from Alaska Airlines in 1988, Ruth enjoyed traveling and birthday and lunch gatherings with the "lunch bunch" gang.

Ruth was voted "Citizen of the Year" twice-first in 1989 and again in 2002.

Her greatest blessings in life were her husband Russ, her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, her many friends, her church, and her absolute love of Wrangell that made her life so complete.

Ruth is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Frank and Pat Warfel of Wrangell; daughter and son-in-law Berniece and Bim Westberg of Casa Grande, Ariz.; daughter and son-in-law Teri and Pete Moody of Klamath Falls, Ore.; and her grandchildren and great grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service for Ruth on August 23 at the Presbyterian Church in Wrangell. Ruth's final wishes were to have any donations sent to the Wrangell Presbyterian Church Roof Fund.

 

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