Historical Details

Newton, Ruth Newton

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 02/12/2021


(Mrs. Harold F.)

Ruth Erwin was the first child born to Mathilda and Clarence W. Erwin June 8, 1906 in Omaha, Nebr. In 1912 she moved with her parents to Worland, Wyo. Her sister, Virginia, was a year old. The family lived in Worland for 12 years and she graduated from high school at the age of 17 in 1924.

The following day she went to Lusk with her father, C. W. Erwin and on May 26, 1924 the two opened the Lusk State Bank. Banking was hazardous at that time due to many bank failures in the county. Conservative operation over the years made the bank a secure, dependable institution. The bank was sold after 35 years. It continues serving Niobrara County at the present time.

In the early days when the bank was established, Ruth worked the first year and a half. The starting salary was $60 a month and in the beginning she surely must have been overpaid.  However, she worked long hours, saved her money and entered the University of Wyoming in the fall of 1925.

Since it was imperative that she be frugal in expenses, her mother and sister, Virginia, went along and the three had an apartment in Laramie near the campus.

At the end of the first year of college, Ruth returned to her job at the Lusk State Bank, for another year and a half. In the fall of 1927 she enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln for her sophomore year.Other young people attending the University at that time were Gertrude Ord (now Mrs. Roy Chamberlin), Robert Wolfe, Addie Decastro (now Dr. Decastro) and George Mill.

Following this year of college, Ruth returned to Lusk to continue working in the
bank.  That fall she went to California for further study in the College of Music at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

Once more she returned to Lusk in the spring of 1929. It was at that time she responded to a call from Jim Griffith, editor of the Lusk Herald who offered her a job on the paper. This was an opportunity in a varied field - a new and welcome chal­lenge. Both Jim and Nellie Griffith and Arthur F. Vogel were the main staff at that time.

Ruth held this job until her marriage.

Prior to this time she took an active part in activities of the community. She was a member of St. George's Episcopal Church.

She taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, played the organ and directed the choir for a time. Much of her active participation was during the years that Mary Bakewell was a missionary serving the church in Lusk.

Miss Bakewell hoped the church would break precedent and make her the first woman to be ordained by the Episcopal Church. She was greatly admired by the community, who felt she was qualified.

On Feb. 8, 1930 Ruth Erwin was married to Harold F. Newton from Cody, Wyo. After their marriage they lived in Hastings, Nebr. where he was employed in the dairy business. From there they lived in St. Louis, Mo.; Dardanelle, Ark.; Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio.

In 1941 they returned to their beloved Wyoming, locating in Sheridan. They bought out a small dairy plant. Later they built a fine modern manufacturing plant and built it into one of the largest dairy plants in Wyoming and the western states in the manufacturing, processing and distributing of dairy products. 

The Newton's have a deep interest in the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Both attended this fine institution and Harold graduated in 1927 with a B.S. degree. He later served on the board of trustees of the University of Wyoming for 16 years. He was president of the board the last four years. He resigned this post when the Newtons went to Washington, D. C. where he was executive assistant to the newly-elected Senator Clif­ford P. Hansen. They returned to Sheridan at the end of two years, (1967-68).

The Newtons are parents of three children. John Erwin Newton was in the U. S. Army and served in the Far East, Thailand and Vietnam.

Virginia Kay Newton married Robert H. Brown from Torrington and Rawlins.  They live in San Francisco, Calif. with their year-old daughter, Shari.

Janet Ruth Newton a registered medical technologist, married Robert Scott Ludwig from Laramie and they and their daughter, Janet Michelle, live in Laramie.

Besides her family, Ruth had time for community organizations.  She was a den mother for Cub Scouts, Girl Scout leader, YWCA Girl Counselor, guardian of Bethel #5, Job's Daughters, Altar Guild and Women of St. Peter's church, Salvation Army board and Library board. She is a member of Naomi Chapter #2, 0. E. S., Order of Eastern Star, Sahida Temple #86, Daughters of the Nile, past president of the Sheridan Woman's Club, Sheridan Garden Club, Sheridan County Republican Women, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and the P. E. 0. Sisterhood of which she is a past president.

She is vice-president of Baruth, Ltd., the corporation which followed the sale of Jersey Creamery, Inc.   The Newton's celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary Feb. 8, 1970.

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Record Type Name
Obituary Newton, Ruth (06/08/1906 - 09/06/1987) View Record