Ruth Elaine Oltman

Ruth Elaine (Grider) Oltman, age 97, passed away on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. She was born on Feb. 18, 1926, in Newport, Oregon. Ruth grew up in Boise, Idaho where she began her lifelong love of reading. She graduated from Boise High School in 1944, and went on to study at the University of Washington and joined Delta Zeta. She graduated with an education degree in 1948 and quickly launched a career in education.

Ruth married her husband, Chuck, on Nov. 24, 1951, at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Boise while he was serving in the military. After a brief stint in Colorado Springs, they moved to Bellingham in late 1952. Ruth taught at Meridian High School and finished her teaching career at Blaine Middle School. Through retirement, she stayed active as a member of The Young Homemaker’s Club, playing bridge and chatting every week with friends. Ruth served on the Whatcom Library Board as a volunteer for many years.

Reading was a great passion of hers and she was always finishing one book, then moving right on to another one. Ruth enjoyed making handcrafted cards, something she had in common with her sister. She enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren, taking in the view across the bay to Lummi Island at her longtime home at Gooseberry Point.

Ruth was preceded in death by her loving husband of 59 years, Chuck, her parents Edward and Helen Grider, brother Rodney Grider, sister Louise Hofmann, sister-in-law Jo Grider, and brother-in-law Robert Hoffman.  Ruth is survived by her daughters Nancy Johnson (Chris) and Kristin Haggen (Brad), son Charles Oltman II (Cara), grandchildren Edward, Fredrick, Garrett, Tanya, Jake, Jesse, Matthew and Kaila, and many other relatives and friends.

The family would like to thank the staff at Highgate Senior Living for their wonderful and loving care of Ruth in her final days. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Meridian Public School Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Society of Washington, or any charity of your choice. 

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 8 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bellingham. 

Please share your memories of Ruth at the Westford Funeral Home website.