Former Steamboat Springs resident Ruth "Rusty" Mack Poulter died peacefully Oct. 21, 2006, with her family at her side, at Hospice Family Care Center in Tucson, Ariz. She was 78.
Rusty was born May 12, 1928, in Quincy, Ill., to Nathan and Laura Anne (McClary) Mack. She was raised in Quincy and graduated from high school in 1945. Rusty was a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood and received her associate's degree from Cottey College in Nevada, Mo., in 1947; her bachelor's degree from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1949; and her master's degree in guidance and counseling from Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., in 1955. She taught kindergarten in Cincinnati, Ohio; Maraciabo, Venezuela; Quincy, Ill.; and Steamboat Springs.
Rusty loved music. She studied, taught and performed vocally throughout her life. Rusty's vocal repertoire ranged from singing at a Maraciabo night club to supplement her teaching income while in Venezuela, to singing the part of the Sorcerer in the Opera Dido and Aneas on the stage of the Roman ruins at Sabratha, in Tripoli, Libya, to leading camp songs after every dinner meal at the Bear Pole Ranch summer camp for more than 20 years. Rusty was the choir director at the First United Methodist Church in Steamboat Springs for 30 years and initiated the first community chorus of Handel's Messiah, which has become an annual tradition.
Rusty met her husband, Glenn, in Yellowstone National Park in summer 1955. After a whirlwind courtship, they were married Jan. 21,1956.
They spent the first two years of married life in Princeton, N.J., where Glenn completed his Ph.D. degree in geology and Rusty taught at Miss Fine's School for Girls. Rusty and Glenn lived in Casper, Wyo., and Pittsburgh, Penn., before, as a result of Glenn's geologic career, they were transferred to Tripoli, Libya, in 1963. Rusty and Glenn chose to leave the corporate world, and in 1966 purchased a small ranch in Strawberry Park, outside of Steamboat Springs. Rusty taught kindergarten in the Steamboat Springs School District and then opened Strawberry Park Preschool, serving many of the community's youngest residents for a number of years. For more than 20 years, Rusty and Glenn operated Bear Pole Ranch in Strawberry Park as a children's summer camp, wilderness school and ski lodge.
Rusty had a great love for the mountains and the outdoors. She and Glenn led adult hut-hopping trips in the Alps of Austria during the fall months for many years.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her sister and her brother.
She is survived by her husband, Glenn, of Green Valley, Ariz.; her daughter and son-in-law, Debbie and Jack Reid; grandchildren, Jessica, John and Emily Reid of Gillette, Wyo.; her son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Laurie Poulter; grandson Nathan Poulter of Centennial; her son Jay Poulter of Steamboat Springs; her daughter Laura Poulter; and grandson Tavian Parks of State College, Penn.
A memorial service was held Oct. 25, 2006, at the Silver Springs Retirement Community in Green Valley, Ariz. An additional celebration of Rusty's life will be held in Steamboat Springs later in 2007.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in her name to Hospice, 6300 E. El Dorado Plaza, Suite A100 Tucson, AZ 85715.