Ruth M. “Rusty” Anderson, 92, died Thursday, December 26, 2019, at her home in Victor, from pulmonary fibrosis.
The middle daughter of William Bennett Davies and Helen Marguarite Rolle Davies, she was born October 2, 1927, in Sharon, Ohio. She attended schools in Cleveland Heights and
Wooster before attending the College of Wooster. On December 20, 1947, she married Emory Joseph Anderson, Jr., in the College of Wooster Chapel. At that time, both were students there; Rusty majored in English and Psychology. Emory studied English and worked for the school newspaper.
They were the parents of four sons, born four years apart. They lived in the Cleveland area where Emory worked for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Clevelander Magazine. The couple shared a love of photography, and created numerous travelogues about the Midwest, the St. Lawrence River and Nova Scotia, showing the films to audiences throughout Ohio.
The family also loved sailing, owning several small boats. They were early adherents of recreational skiing, helping found the National Ski Patrol chapter at Cleveland area resort Boston Mills, and skiing in Lake Placid, Stowe and other ski resorts whenever possible.
In 1969, following up on their strong desire to move West, the family moved to Worland, Wyoming, where Emory became editor of the Northern Wyoming Daily News. In the Big Horn Basin, the family started a weekly newspaper, the Western Free Post. Rusty worked as a wrangler for the National Girl Scout Center West in Ten Sleep and helped trail herds of hundreds of horses across the Big Horn Basin.
The Andersons moved to Jackson in 1972, when Emory was hired as editor of the Jackson Hole Guide. Her children mostly grown, Rusty began a series of high-profile jobs, including helping open the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor’s Center and working at the Moose Visitors Center in Grand Teton National Park. In the mid-1970s, she started and operated “Post and Parcel” in Jackson, the only private mail service in the area, eventually turning that business over to her son Joe.
Rusty was active in the Jackson community; she served as one of the founding docents of the National Museum of Wildlife Art at its original location on the town square, and as an early volunteer for the Grand Teton Music Festival, when performances took place at the Jackson Hole High School gym, now the site of the Center for the Arts. She served on the Snow King Ski Patrol for many years and taught skiing with Bill Briggs. As members of St. John’s Episcopal Church, she and Emory often assisted other members with rides on Sundays and setting up the Chapel of the Transfiguration for summer and holiday services. They loved “Sundays at the Coach,” and danced with the Teton Twirlers Square Dance Club. Rusty also performed in a couple dozen local drama productions including “The Fantasticks,” “Mame” and “Oliver.”
In 1991, Rusty and Emory built their home south of Victor. In Teton Valley, she worked at the Teton Basin Ranger District Office of the U. S. Forest Service, being recognized for her work in its Senior Community Service Employment program. She was the coordinator of ElderHostel at Grand Targhee for many years. She also served a stint as the local stringer for Channel 8 News, providing video about Valley events to KIFI-TV in Idaho Falls.
An avid reader and curious to the end of her days, Rusty served as president of the Friends organization for the Valley of the Tetons Library in the early 1990s. She participated in many local book groups and continued to enjoy audio books as her vision failed. She was also well known for her artwork, and had a one-woman show at the White Horse Café in Victor in 2002. Over the years, Rusty contributed numerous paintings to nonprofits for fundraisers; one of her paintings hangs in the Teton County Courthouse in Driggs.
As founding members of St. Francis of the Tetons Episcopal Church, she and Emory attended church in the Legion Hall in Driggs before the congregation acquired its current location in the old Pratt Ward house in Alta.
Rusty was also well-known as a passionate horsewoman, and she kept horses on her property for HAPI Trails. Her love of animals was evident throughout her life, as the Andersons adopted abandoned critters in the most surprising of circumstances. Her cats, Max and Pumpkin, provided comfort at the end of her life.
She loved learning about new places; her first trip to England and France was in 1978, when she visited her childhood penpal, the culmination of a correspondence that began before World War II and continued over the decades. In recent years, accompanied by Peter and Jeanne, she visited Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal.
In the Red Hat Society, where she met her dear friends Alice McIntosh and Nancy Burke, her motto was “die trying” and that she certainly did.
Rusty is survived by her sons William Eric “Bill” Anderson of Fort Collins, CO; Peter Charles Anderson (Jeanne Anderson) of Driggs; and David Bennett Anderson (Leslie Ryan) of Victor; daughter-in-law Sandy Anderson of Alpine; grand-children Michelle Anderson (Randy Knepper) of Jackson, Erika Hartenstein of Alpine, and Christie Jones (Jeremy Jones) of Houston, TX; great-grandchildren Tyler Buschow of Casper, Derek Buschow of Jackson, Will Hartenstein of Alpine, and Lucy Jones and Oliver Jones, both of Houston; nephew Cliff Perkins of Cleveland, OH; nieces Kim Perkins of Pasadena, CA, and Ginny Hart of Citrus Springs, FL; and numerous close local friends and other farflung kin. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Mary Lou and Marian, her husband Emory, and her eldest son, Emory J. Anderson, III.
The family would like to extend its thanks to Solace Hospice Care for its support over the past few weeks and to all the caregivers who provided a great amount of help to Rusty over the years.
A memorial service will be planned later this winter. Her ashes, along with Emory’s, will be scattered in the Tetons and in Bellyache Flats in the Big Horn Basin.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rusty’s honor to any of the following organizations which she supported: Seniors West of the Tetons/Meals on Wheels, Valley of the Tetons Library, St. Francis of the Tetons Episcopal Church, HAPI Trails, Teton Arts, or Teton Valley Animal Shelter.