Ruth Schneiter Henderson passed away in 2012. She grew up in Longview, Washington, the only child of Robert and Margaret Schneiter. Her parents were dairy farmers of Swiss heritage who knew the value of hard work and frugal living. They loved both the land and their animals and worked together for almost fifty years to grow the number of cows (registered Holsteins) in their herd and the size of their farm.
Ruth attended R.A. Long High School and Lower Columbia College. Following graduation, she worked for several years in real estate before getting married and starting a family. A stay at home mom, she was very active in community volunteer activities including Junior Service League, Children’s Orthopedic Hospital Guild, Lower Columbia Community Concerts, Washington State Arts Council, Southwest Washington Symphony Guild, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross and her church, Calvary Community.
But her greatest satisfaction came from volunteering for organizations that her children, twins Margaret L. (Marci) and Robert K. (Rob) participated in as they were growing up. The one organization which she believed had the greatest impact on their future was 4-H. Ruth volunteered for 4-H in a variety of diverse ways including leader in the foods program, camp counselor at Camp Mayfield in Lewis County, assistant at the Cowlitz County Fair, and Council Chairwoman for the county.
When her children left for college, Marci to Washington State University and Rob to the University of Colorado, Ruth was asked to turn a volunteer experience into an employment opportunity. She became a Representative for Community Concerts, a division of Columbia Artists Management in New York City. As such, she helped bring affordable, world class entertainment to communities of all sizes. Annually, she and the other representatives would spend three weeks in New York City previewing talent (generally classical in nature) to promote to the community association boards she worked with in six western states and British Columbia.
Though she loved this job for the people she met, and the places she saw, after several years she decided she would like to be home a bit more. Ruth was offered a position with Community Home Health/Hospice in Longview. Ruth was with this agency for thirteen years and held a number of positions including Volunteer Coordinator, Development Director and the Director of Public Affairs. She is very pleased to have played an instrumental role in helping to get built one of the very first free standing Hospice facilities in the United States as well as in helping to establish the Community Hospice Foundation. But to Ruth, the greatest value in being a part of the hospice movement, was in being reminded daily of the value and importance of each and every life.
During this time she was involved in many local activities including community theater. She played the roles of Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn in “The Music Man”, Mrs. Higgens in “My Fair Lady”, and Auntie Em in the “Wizard of Oz” for Southwest Washington’s Mainstage productions.
And though Ruth always thought she would stay in southwest Washington when she retired, her love of Montana lured her to move to Lewistown, a small, ranching community in the middle of the state. She loves the blue sky, the wide open spaces, the beauty of the landscape and the genuineness of the people. In many ways, she has returned to her roots as agriculture is “the essence of life” in central Montana. She traveled the world (including frequent visits to Switzerland) and participates in a myriad of community and cultural events in Lewistown. Ruth was a quiet philanthropist, encouraging friend, and dedicated mom.
Scholarships to undergraduate students participating in the CUDS (Cooperative University Dairy Students) program in the Department of Animal Sciences at Washington State University. First preference to students with a dairy backgrounds or expressed interest working on a dairy.