My mother, Ruby Douglas Richins, was born on June 5, 1902 into the era of horse drawn buggies and kerosene lamps. She was born at Etna, Utah to James and Mary E. Douglas. She was the fourth daughter and her three older sisters loved her and pampered her. She was particularly close to her sister Martha Jeanette, who was familiarly known as Jennie. She and Jennie married brothers. Newell and Jennie had no children and Ruby and Wellington Irvin (Wellie) shared their brood of four with them. She married Wellie on May 19, 1920 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. Four healthy children blessed their home: Larene, Virginia, Douglas and Virgil.
She spent her youth on her parents’ large cattle ranch in Grouse Creek, Utah, where she developed a love for all animals. The sight of a drive of cattle, followed by dusty, shouting cowboys always thrilled her and because she understood that kind of life she relived her youth as she watched a Western movie or read Western books.
Ruby saw beauty in the sunsets, in mountain scenery and all other beauties of nature. She liked soothing forms of music and simple poetry. She loved to dance, and in the small Utah town where she lived everyone was at the dance. Couples took their whole families to the dances. As the children grew sleepy they were bedded on the benches and the dance went on.
Ruby had a heart condition the latter part of her life so she limited her dancing to waltzes, which her romantic nature had always loved the most.
She had a great fear of thunderstorms. When the roar of thunder was loudest and followed right behind a flash of crooked lightning, she would close the door and windows so the lightning wouldn’t follow the draft into the house. She would cover the mirrors so they would not catch the reflections and she always pulled the window shades. Another of her fears was sickness or accidents. Her children were always well dressed against the elements. The aspirins and Vicks Vapor Rub were always handy for the first sound of a sneeze and a pan of hot Epsom salts water was the immediate remedy for the child who scratched himself on a rusty, barbed wire or stepped on a nail.
She had a great pride in her family and wanted them to accomplish and contribute to their church and community, but she wanted them to follow righteous methods in their dealings with people. This was far more important to her than whether they excelled. She was a firm believer in the Word of Wisdom and taught and practiced it. Prayer dominated my mother’s life. She took all of her problems to Him and always remembered to thank Him for guidance and protection.
If I should liken her to a player on a basketball team, she would be the fifth player who made the team complete, who was always there when needed, who supported, rather than led, and helped the other fellow make all the baskets, but took none of the glory unto herself.
She was neat and clean in her dress. She had dark hair, hazel eyes and was petite in manners and appearance. She was about five and one-half feet tall. All her life she had a dread of growing old. When she died she was still young and beautiful. Her death came on September 20, 1956, just at sunset, 6:50 p.m., as the Elders commended her spirit to God. She was buried in the Grouse Creek Cemetery.
Written by daughter LaRene Richins Napoli