Ruth was born in Nespelem, WA, on the Colville Indian Reservation.
Ruth was proud of her heritage as a descendant of the Joseph Band Nez Perce, and frequently showed the grit of the those who had survived the War of 1877.
After bouts with tuberculosis in her teen years, she was able to attend Western Washington University, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and while teaching in Bothell, met another Colville Tribal Member, Paul G. Wapato.
Their union produced four children, Karen, Kathryn, Paul C. and Philip, and led to 30 years in southern California, as Paul pursued a career in aerospace engineering.
Retirement in 1991 brought them to Bend, OR.
In 2001, they chose a second retirement venue, in northwest Spokane, placing them closer to the children, who reside in Lewiston, Coulee Dam and Omak.
Seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter played no small role in that selection.
Recently, Paul and Ruth relocated to the Rockwood South Hill retirement community.
While in retirement, Ruth and her husband have made a major commitment in supporting the history of the War of 1877 by working in the Nez Perce Trail Foundation, a citizen advocate organization supporting the Congressionally-designated Nez Perce National Historic Trail.
That led them to many visits to sites in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Alberta.
Her family deeply grieves for the loss of her firm, fair and loving presence.
Her passing will be memorialized at the Nespelem Community Center on Thursday, October 16, with a Rosary at 7:00 PM, followed by a Walasat service.
Interment will Saturday morning at the Little Nespelem Creek Cemetery.
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