Cherry Blossoms

Ruth Nadine (Dennhardt) Wiley

September 18, 1943 ~ November 11, 2021 (age 78)

Obituary

Ruth Nadine Dennhardt was born in North Bend on September 18, 1943 to Curtis and Lucile Linden Dennhardt. Her first home was located near Coles Cedar Nook Tavern in Hauser, where she joined an older sister, Margaret Ellen. Before her third birthday, her family moved to a mill camp near Sunny Hill School. Tom Devereux had a lumber mill and her father got a job there. The camp had several tar paper shacks without any indoor plumbing. One of the houses was occupied by the Dennhardt family. She grew up with the sound of the saws cutting lumber, the mill whistle and of trucks shifting gears as they came up the hill to deliver their loads of logs to the mill. Those days, although the family struggled financially, were very happy. Three cousins lived next door and a younger brother, Carl Curtis, would join the family in 1947.

Winter days were spent in the house often listening to the radio, playing games and helping fix meals. Baths were given in a galvanized tub with water heated on the wood stove. Summer time brought six young children into their yards where log trucks passed through. Much time was spent picking berries, catching crawdads, roaming the forests and playing wonderful games. In the evenings, Grandma Dennhardt would often make taffy, butter the dishes and the process of pulling the taffy would begin.

Sundays we would all get in the car and attend Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in North Bend, We still lived in the mill camp when Ruth received her First Holy Communion. Ruth’s mother made sure they had beautiful white dresses.                     

Although they skimped to fix meals, Ruth’s mother would fill a lard bucket and have the kids go up to the road and hang it in a tree. It was a means of feeding the hobos who passed by on their journey. Evening would come and they would fetch the bucket back for the next day. They learned early to share what they had.

Their water supply came from a creek that Ruth’s dad had backed up. The water would come down off the hill, under the road and into the pond. It was 1952 when Ruth’s  grandmother slipped and fell into the pond. She was found hours later. They buried her on a cold day in March. Their life seemed to change at that time. The lumber mill closed and they moved to property just across the road from Sunny Hill School. They lived in a tent for the first year while Ruth’s dad built their house. The family dug so many wells on the property and never did find the wonderful spot where water would provide an entire season.

Ruth started school in 1949 at Sunny Hill. She struggled for the first few weeks of school. She didn’t realize her name was Ruth. Her family had always called her Dukie. It took her several weeks to break in the teachers and she became Dukie to teachers, friends as well as her family. In 1952 Ruth’s mother became the cook at Sunny Hill. A small tight-knit community, Ruth made long lasting friendships.

In 1957 Ruth graduated from the 8th grade at Sunny Hill. The next September brought her to North Bend High School where she graduated in 1961. Her freshman year, she was named “Friendliest Freshman” and received a crown and was honored with her picture on the front of the Bulldog Barker, the school newspaper.

During her junior year of high school, Ruth was at a dance at the Eagles Lodge in Coos Bay and met a wonderful young man named Jim Wiley. Jim was in the Air Force stationed at Hauser and was a good friend of one of the teachers at Sunny Hill. The couple met on January 31, 1960. On February 14, 1960 Jim asked Ruth to marry him. On March 18, the young couple went to Payette, Idaho where they were married. Ruth continued high school and graduated with her class in 1961.

                      

On September 26, 1961 a young son, James, was born to the couple. What a wonderful gift God had given them.  Ruth’s sister Margaret had given birth to a little girl just one day before on September 25, 1961, Lou Ann. The children would become inseparable. Often, they were confused as brother and sister. On January 4, 1965 another boy was born to the family. Rickey would make the family complete.    

In May 1965 Ruth’s sister, Margaret was murdered in Coquille. Her daughter would be raised by Ruth’s mother. Ruth’s mother was working at that time so Lou Ann spent more time with the Wiley family.

In October 1969, the Wileys bought their first and only home. It was small (and still is) but it held all of the love that was needed. In 1972 Ruth went to work at Albertson’s bakery. She stayed there until 1975 when she went to work at Sears in Pony Village. March 1977 brought her back to Sunny Hill where she was assigned the job of being the school secretary. It was a dream come true. Her mother was the cook at the school and she found herself among friends. Many of the students had parents and grandparents who went to school with Ruth.

The years would slip by, each one bringing happiness, laughter and love. In 2000 Sunny Hill closed and Ruth was reassigned to North Bend Junior High. Health reasons would have Ruth resign her position and she found herself retiring early.

During those years, Ruth and Jim made many trips to Germany to visit their oldest son who was an attorney for the Army. They also traveled to California to visit their youngest son, Rickey. Ruth and Jim were blessed with five granddaughters.

In September 2008 Jim and Ruth were notified that their son Jim had died in Afghanistan. They were so lucky to have a close family both at home and at Church. The journey through grief has not been easy but when you travel it with others, your burden is lessened. We all have moments of grief. We have all lost someone. So many hands extended to the Wiley family as they walked with them.

Great-grandchildren now fill the walls of the Wiley’s home. It is always nice to have the door open with little children looking for Papa Jim and Great Ma. The road traveled has been wonderful. Everything has a purpose. Sometimes we do not understand but we pick ourselves up, look forward and travel to a new experience.  Ruth often worked on genealogy, tracing her family roots. Her mind wondered back to stories she heard as she was growing up. She saved those stories for generations that will follow.

She is survived by her husband, Jim; son, Rickey; 5 grandchildren, Jamie, Ruthie, Sarah, Amber and Krista; and 7 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her son, Jim that died in Afghanistan in 2008.

Arrangements are under the care of North Bend Chapel, 541-756-0440. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth, please visit our floral store.


Services

Visitation
Wednesday
November 17, 2021

12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
North Bend Chapel
2014 McPherson Ave.
North Bend, Oregon 97459

Visitation
Thursday
November 18, 2021

8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
North Bend Chapel
2014 McPherson Ave.
North Bend, Oregon 97459

Recitation of the Rosary
Thursday
November 18, 2021

10:30 AM
Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
2250 16th St.
North Bend, Oregon 97459

Funeral Mass
Thursday
November 18, 2021

11:00 AM
Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (Coos Bay, North Bend)

Interment
Thursday
November 18, 2021

1:00 PM
Sunset Memorial Park
63060 Millington Frontage Road
Coos Bay, Oregon 97420

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