Ruth Shaw Kern

Ruth Shaw Kern

Ruth Shaw Kern, 92, passed away Aug. 28, 2020, in Red Lodge, surrounded by her family. 

She was preceded in death by her husband Don, who left us in 2005.

She was born on April 8, 1928, at the family home on Beck Avenue in Cody to Ernest F. Shaw and Effie Abrahamson Shaw. She was the youngest of four children. Her father owned the Cody Enterprise, a weekly newspaper and printing business in Cody.

Always an excellent student, Ruth went to Stephens College for Women in Columbia, Mo., and in 1948 transferred to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She graduated in 1950 with a B.S. in journalism, having been the only woman in her class who concentrated on news reporting in lieu of marketing or advertising.

While growing up, the family spent many weekends and vacations at the cabin her father built on the North Fork of the Shoshone River, not far from Yellowstone National Park.

For several years, Ruth worked summers for her brother-in-law Henry Coe at Pahaska Tepee, which is near the East entrance to Yellowstone. It was there she met her husband Donald G. Kern in 1952. He was a seasonal ranger stationed at the Park’s east gate, and became a permanent park ranger that year. They were married at the old Episcopal Church on Rumsey Avenue in Cody on Dec. 6, 1952.

They lived at West Yellowstone, Canyon and Mammoth while in the Park. 

Kathryn Anne was born in September 1953 while they were at Mammoth. Later that year Don decided to get a second degree in engineering and they moved to Livingston, then Bozeman. During this period Ruth worked as a reporter at the Livingston Enterprise and a copywriter at a Bozeman radio station.

In 1955 Don graduated and took a job with General Electric at Hanford near Richland, Wash. They lived in Richland, then Kennewick for five years. Three sons, Richard, Leland and Allan were born during their time there.

In 1960 they moved to Greenville, Mich., and lived there for seven years. In Michigan there were many good times camping, boating, and water skiing. They moved to Stamford, Conn., in 1967 and to Georgetown, Mass., in 1969. Ruth worked as a staff reporter for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune for four years while in Massachusetts.

In 1974 Don’s job took the family to Lynchburg, Va., and after a year there they returned west. There were several wonderful years living at Pahaska Tepee while Don was manager. From there they returned to Yellowstone where they lived in Mammoth until 1990. Don worked as an engineer for the Park Service and Ruth worked in accounting for the lodging concessioner. They loved to go snowmobiling in Yellowstone and in the Cooke City area.

During these years three grandchildren were born and filled their lives with pleasure. They are Hanna Beth Kern, Jackson Shaw Kern and Aaron Kern Levine. 

Ruth was always an inspiration to her children and grandchildren. She taught by example. She kept up with the world to the end, always curious and interesting to talk with.

In retirement, Don and Ruth lived in Livingston until January 2004 and then moved to Red Lodge. Ruth loved her time in Red Lodge and always enjoyed her family and her bridge. She was the last living member of the Ernest Shaw and Effie Abrahamson Shaw family.

A celebration of her life is planned for next June at the family cabin on the North Fork, details to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, donations to BareTooth Cupboards in Red Lodge are encouraged. Their address is P.O. Box 665, Red Lodge, MT, 59068.

The family would like to thank the entire staff at Billings Clinic in Red Lodge for their heartfelt, expert care and sensitivity.

She is missed.

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