Former Routt County resident Ruth Hendricks Greffenius died June 10, 2003. She was 87.

Ruth was born Jan. 27, 1916, in a northwestern Colorado mining town. She grew up dancing, singing and acting, and she earned a scholarship to the University of Denver, where she was on the debate team and sang the contralto lead in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera.

Ruth met R.J. "Griff" Greffenius at a dance in Steamboat Springs, and the couple married in 1936. Their work with the U.S. Forest Service took them to remote stations throughout Northwest Colorado, as well as posts in Steamboat Springs, Dolores, Bayfield and Durango, where the couple were well known for their ballroom dancing.

Ruth began her teaching career before she earned her bachelor's degree from Fort Lewis College. Her teaching positions included jobs at one-room schoolhouses in Lebanon and outside of Steamboat. She also taught grade school and junior high school classes in Hayden, Durango and Ann Arbor, Mich. Many of her students kept in touch with her.

Ruth also acted in community theater and presented one-woman shows of readings and songs from Broadway productions.

Ruth and Griff traveled to many places, including Italy, France, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

The couple eventually moved to California, where Griff taught natural resources at California Polytechnic Institute for 10 years, while Ruth served as president of the Cal Poly Women's Club. The couple later returned to Durango for its beauty, fishing and their friends.

Griff died in 1991, after which Ruth moved to Grand Junction to be near her son, Richard, and his family. She moved to the Portland, Ore., area in 1999 to live near her daughter, Susan, and her family.

Despite a number of health problems Ruth continued to enjoy life. She traveled with her family to New Zealand, Turkey and Greece, among other places both abroad and domestic.

She eventually wrote a book, titled "I Hope I Get To Dance."

Ruth was preceded in death by two sisters, Roberta Hendricks and a sister who died in infancy.

She is survived by her son, Richard Greffenius of Grand Junction; her daughter, Susan Butruille of Portland, Ore.; seven grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

A memorial service was held June 14. Her family will return her ashes to the mountains of Colorado, where a memorial service will be held in Grand Junction later this summer.


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