Ruth Nina Merja was born on August 22, 1927, in Great Falls MT, to Elwin and Olga Love. She died at her home near Sun River, MT, at the base of Square Butte, July 3, 2019 after 91 yrs of an active life.
A service will be held in the spring when more family members can attend.
Ruth was the eldest of 4 children, she grew up on a farm near Power, MT with her mother, Olga (Grunling) Love, father Elwin Love, and three sisters, Elsa, Doris and Rosemary. Her family tried crop farming, however, realized that raising sheep was the commodity that would pay the bills. She found she had an affinity for animal husbandry and was the “right hand woman” for the job of helping her family succeed.
Ruth married Malvin Merja on October 27, 1951 in Power, MT. In the beginning, Ruth and Malvin farmed with Malvin’s mother, Mary (Manya) and stepfather, Martin Molinario near Carter, MT. They acquired property at Manchester, MT before expanding their farming operation to the “home place” on the bench above Sun River, MT at the base of Square Butte.
Ruth was an active community leader. She was a Charter member of the Sun River Valley Historical Society (founded in 1981). In 1991 she took on the responsibility of treasurer, a job she did for 25 years until failing eyesight made the job too difficult.
She was a member of the Home Demonstration Club, active in PTA, CIA (Citizens In Art) and volunteered for school events. Ruth was a Cub Scout Den Mother, leading her sons and neighbor boys in activities, arts, crafts and building projects.
Ruth was actively involved with the farming operation, as well as beef production, she managed and improved the beef herd and shared that interest with her grandchildren.
Ruth was a handy woman to have around, her carpentry skills enhanced the house her family called home. She also had many other creative interests, gardening, knitting, ceramics, sewing clothing, quilting, painting in water, acrylics, and oil. She shared these interests freely.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her husband and 2 sisters. She is survived by her children, Charles (Stephanie) Merja. Rebecca (Larry LeBlanc) Merja, Elliot (Wanda) Merja and Patrick Merja. Nine grandchildren & 12 great grandchildren. Her sister Rosemary Heurion, many nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Ruth’s name to Sun River Valley Historical Society, Peace Hospice or a charity of your choice.
Condolences may be shared with the family at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com
To send flowers to Ruth's family, please visit our floral section.