Ruth Sonner

Ruth Sonner

Ruth Sonner Annual Pix Caption
Ruth 2014..

Ruth Sonner

Rest In Peace...
1945 - 2020

Spouse: Bob Carpenter


Bobby (1965)
Dion (1966)
Christine (1968)
Brad (1970)
Brian (1974)
Eric (1976)
Kerri (1977)

Grand-Kids: 18

Ruth M. Carpenter, Lewiston Morning Tribune, December 16, 2020

Ruth Mildred Carpenter joined her Heavenly Father Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020.

Ruth was right where she always wanted to be, next to her beloved husband, Robert, in her home, where she felt safe and loved. Although her family and friends grieve the loss of her on Earth, we all know she has found peace in heaven with the Holy Spirit that has guided her throughout her life.

Ruth was born in New Meadow, a borough of New York, Dec. 12, 1945, to Dorothy and Donald Sonner, but did not stay there for long. As an infant, she moved with her mom and dad to Sunnyside, Wash., where she became a big sister. Ruth, her mom and her baby sister, Donna, moved back to New York for a few years before later moving to Lewiston. It was there that Ruth became a big sister to Keith, Paul and Nancy, and her stepfather, Pat Purcell, became a part of her life.

While living in Lewiston, she attended College Elementary and Whitman Elementary. She attended middle school at St. Stanislaus Catholic School, where she later sent her children, carrying on her strong faith and devotion to the Catholic Church. She spent her freshman year of high school at St. Gertrude, where rumor has it she may have been a bit mischievous in school! Ruth did not indulge these stories of mischief when she shared with her own children later in life. Best not to give them any ideas! No need to let them all know that mischief may run on both sides of their family!

Ruth met the love of her life the summer of her sophomore year while attending Lewiston High School. To hear Bob tell the story, it all started at the local swimming pool! She was wearing a violet-colored sundress at the west end of the pool. And the rest was history. The two spent their dating years at drive-in movies, roller rinks and at Lou’s Drive-In, where Ruth worked on roller skates! Together, they defied the stereotypical idea that high school sweethearts never last and went on to marry the day after Ruth graduated from high school. They were blessed with fifty-six years together. Fifty-six years of “ROBERT!” echoing through the hallways of the houses they have made homes. All who know them know that, above all else, Ruth wanted her husband beside her and he would drop everything to be by her side. The connection they shared is not found every day. It’s unique to them and admired by many.

These two high school sweethearts created seven wonderful humans together and spent their days bustling about, getting all the children to the events that life brings. They raised seven athletes and never missed their sporting events. In fact, Ruth was more than a fan; she coached her daughters’ softball team for years, treating her players to a soda from the concession stand after games. That was her way in all things in life, generous and giving, finding ways to make young people feel special and loved.

The family owned an oversized brown van with “Bob’s Pet & Pond” scribed along the side. Bob and Ruth carted the children to church every Sunday in that van. The whole brood would tumble out together and then load back up after the service. That van helped to keep their family together, as each and every one of them preferred to be. The family business kept them busy and together as well. The children stocked shelves, cleaned animal cages and played in the office. Ruth took care of the kids and the book work, and Bob continued to grow his passion and the business the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley has had in their lives since 1961.

Each and every one of her children felt her love and dedication to them throughout their lives. She never stopped being there for them, even when they grew to adults and began their own families. She fostered a family unit that gathered together often and were as much a part of each others’ daily lives as they were when they were kids. She hugged them often. She showed them in so many small ways how much they meant to her. She hollered at them when she felt they needed it. She helped her daughters-in-law and sons-in-law with insight and advice throughout the years. She never judged. She let each of her children find their path, nurtured them individually, and kept them tight-knit throughout their lives. Not a single one of her children would miss a Christmas evening in their mom and dad’s home. She instilled a sense of family and tradition within them all.

Ruth always seemed to have a calling to serve others, whether that was in her childhood when she took care of her siblings, through her time as a Candy Striper at St. Joseph’s Hospital or through her devotion to her prayer chain. Her natural caretaking tendencies were evident throughout her life. There was never a scratch, bruise, tummy ache or fever that didn’t get taken care of by Grandma. She had a medicine cabinet filled with everything a grandparent could possibly need. She had a heart filled with enough love for every single one of her seven children and 18 grandchildren. She never ran out of Band-Aids or grandma’s special touch. She extended this love and care to her childrens’ spouses and the significant people in her grandchildrens’ lives. Not only did she care for all the young ones in her life, she also served her mother, Dorothy Purcell, her stepfather, Pat Purcell, and her father-in-law and mother-in-law, George and Marie Carpenter, by taking care of them in their golden years and in times of need.

Ruth was a “collector” who filled her home with things that brought her joy. These things included porcelain dolls, unopened toys she bought for her kids and grandkids, fresh flowers on the dining room table and sounds of Positive Life Radio echoing through the house. But the things she filled her home with that brought her the most joy were her family and friends. Their home was open to all who entered through the door. Their guests did not feel like guests, but rather a part of the household. The fridge was always stocked, and the visitors were never told that it was time to go, but rather were offered a place to sleep or some more food. No matter that they had just met them. All were welcome. Their house was crazy most days. Filled with people, it was loud and chaotic in all the right ways. So wonderfully loud. Family functions lingered for hours. Neither Bob nor Ruth seemed to mind. They would head off to bed, leaving the rooms still fluttering with people and activity. A full home seemed to be their comfort zone. To many, her home became an extension of their own. They knew they could open the door without knocking, walk into the kitchen and be in a place they were welcomed and loved.

By far, Ruth’s favorite thing was to fill her home with her grandchildren. And as the number of grandchildren kept increasing throughout the years, Ruth could be found bustling about with the grandkids in tow. She helped raise each and every one in her own special way. There were lots of trips to the Snack Shack or the local grocery store for their favorite snacks and to Shopko to browse the toy section. There were endless loops of the poems “Butterfly Jar,” “Grandma’s Kisses” and “Sara Messenger’s Mother” in the car rides from school that are still stuck in some of her grandchildren’s heads. There were Barbie movies playing, much to the grandsons’ protest and the granddaughters’ glee, while they ran errands around town. There were Stinker Station stops to fill Grandma’s Big Gulp cup to the brim. There were trips to the local Hallmark store for Beanie Babies and Webkinz, annual traditions of the Festival of Trees and local parades with grandkids in tow.

But above all these things, she was the safe place to each and every one of her grandkids, loving them all in a way that not a one was ever left doubting how much they meant to her. Some of these grandkids were so close in age it was almost like having different bundles of triplets and quadruplets! Ruth would take them all in her home for sleepovers and play dates, and they became best friends. Her home was theirs. It was a place where Grandma taught the masses how to get along, and share and be kind, even when someone took “what you had first.” Her Grandma glare only worked on a few; however, when she hollered their first and middle name, they all knew she meant business! There were so many of these grandkids that when they all devised a sleepover plan, Grandma would walk into a living room scattered with sleeping bodies covered in blankets. On all the couches. In the chairs. On the floor. These grandchildren would awake to the smell of bacon and hashbrowns lingering in the air. Bob would assemble the breakfast plates for each one and hand them to the children. Ruth would holler at them to return to the table to clear their plates. They made quite a team in that kitchen. She rarely cooked, but she did make a “mean cinnamon toast.” She supervised the happenings of the kitchen well. She had a cupboard in the dining room that was jampacked with coloring books and crayons, art supplies and games. There were baskets and buckets in every corner of every room filled with their favorite toys. She made every game and school event, even if it meant traveling hundreds of miles to do so. She had a way of prioritizing all and making each one have something special with her. She was the glue that held these cousins together and made them lifelong friends.

Ruth prayed. For everyone. She trusted God implicitly. She prayed out loud, and often, as she marched around the house. She’d ask God to help her find her keys. When someone once told her that God is too busy to find keys, she laughed and said “No He’s not. He found my keys yesterday, and He’ll find them again today.” She prayed, not only for keys to be found, but for hearts to heal, and mouths to be fed and peace to flourish. The phone would ring, and she’d let the answering machine pick it up, not because she was screening her calls, but because there was going to be a list of prayer requests announced on that call, and she wanted to remember each one. She had a tablet and pen next to the phone, and she would listen to the message and write down the requests. For strangers. For ones she knew well. For ones she barely knew at all. She prayed.

As much as she gave of herself to others, she gave even more to her husband, Robert. Their relationship was beautiful and real. They built a crazy life together and balanced each other perfectly. The children all know that they loved each other wholly, and they modeled to them just what devotion and dedication looks like. Their dad would always drop everything and run to their mom’s side. And their mother would always prefer him over all others.

She was preceded in death by her mother and stepfather, Dorothy and Pat Purcell, her father, Donald Sonner, and her father-in-law and mother-in-law, George and Marie Carpenter.

She is survived by her devoted husband, Robert Carpenter; two sisters, Donna Strickler and Nancy Smith (Riley); two brothers, Keith Hawkins (Lynn) and Paul Purcell (Teresa); two daughters Chris Ulrich (Darren) and Kerri Blaydes (R.J.); five sons, Bobby Carpenter (Lisa), Dion Carpenter (Deb), Brad Carpenter (Kelly), Brian T. Carpenter (Tammy), Eric Carpenter (Valerie); 18 grandchildren, Josh, Jessica and Mason Ulrich, Whitney Gay and Ali and Griffin Carpenter, Jonah, Mikiah, Jennah and Noah Carpenter, Dustin McLean and Brooke and Bailey Blaydes, Brynnan, Zack and Kaitlyn Carpenter, Kayden Carpenter, Holden Carpenter; her first great-grandchild, Malachi Mesfin; as well as all the lifelong friends who became family.

Ruth Mildred Carpenter was more than a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a friend. She was something very right in this world. She put God, her husband and her family above all else, yet still had enough to give to all the other people who entered her life. She was wonderful. The life she made for her family was wonderful. She is etched in each and every soul that found refuge in her home and her heart.

Bob would like to thank Ruth’s caretakers, fellowship from church, extended family members and close friends who supported her throughout the years.

Funeral arrangements are being made by Vassar-Rawls Funeral home.

There will be a service with a rosary at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at All Saints Catholic Church, 3330 14th St., Lewiston, ID 83501. Full funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. and blessing outside at the All Saints Columbarium immediately following Mass. All are welcome and in accordance with Bishop Peter Christensen, the Catholic Bishop of the State of Idaho, face coverings and social distancing are required during the service.

For those unable to attend in person, the rosary and funeral Mass will be livestreamed. A link will be posted on Facebook and the Vassar-Rawls website under the obituary.

2014 Reunion News:

In the last 50 years since high school, I have worked for and worked as the following:

In the last 50 years since high school, I have worked for and worked as the following: Bob,s Pet and Pond, Lewiston, Idaho

I am still working and not sure when I will retire. I work part time at the store and babysit grandchildren in between. We have 18 grandchildren from the ages of 3 years to 27 years. 11 of the 18 live in the valley, so there are a lot of sports and school events to attend. I have stayed active in my church over the years, which I enjoy. Bob and I just celebrated our 50th anniversary, May 30th. I graduated one night and we got married the next day, it seems like it was the other day.

2004 Reunion News:

Past highlights: Celebrating my 40 year wedding anniversary May 30th, 2004. Life itself, my family, friends and being alive.

Future Plans: Celebrate 50 years of marriage in 10 years, loose weight and take some college courses. Travel.

30 Year Reunion 1994

Spouse's Name: Robert
Current residence: Lewiston ID
Occupation: Co-owner/Bob's Tropical Fish and Pets.
Spouse's Occupation: Co-owner/Bob's Tropical Fish and Pets.
Family: Bobby 29; Dion 28; Christine 26; Brad 24; Brian 20; Eric 18; Kerri 17.
Number of grandchildren: 3
Places lived in the last 10 years: Lewiston
Hobbies and other interests: Deeping up with our kids and grandchildren and their activities, raising 'yorkies', collecting dolls.
Plans or goals for the next 10 years: Enjoy life, do some traveling, get in shape.
Major highlights of the last 10 years: Having a child graduate from LHS on the 100th anniversary, 3 grandchildren, having a pet store in Moscow, selling it and then enlarging our Lewiston store.

20 Year Reunion 1984

Spouse's Name: Bob
Current residence: Lewiston ID
Occupation: Co-owner Bob's Tropical Fish
Spouse's Occupation: Owner Bob's Tropical Fish
Family: Brian 10; Eric 8; Kerri 7
I went to college the first time this last year and took accounting courses. I plan to continue college next year. I help Bob at our business, which he has had for 23 years and I enjoy working with Jr high and high school youth thru my church. During the summer I've coached a Jr high softball team. This summer I'm going to be coaching 7 and 8 year old girls softball team. My husband and I are also involved in the local Babe Ruth program for boys.

10 Year Reunion 1974

Spouse's Name: Bob Carpenter
Current residence: Lewiston ID
Occupation: Housewife
Spouse's Occupation: Owner of Bob's Tropical Fish
Family: Bobby 9; Dion 8; Christine 6; Bradley 4; Brian 6 months.
Raising a family and helping my husband with his business.

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