Beloved Ruth (Long) Jasper, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend to many, passed peacefully in her sleep on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in New Orleans La. Family and friends will be gathering 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at the Masonic Temple in Fairbanks to celebrate the life of a woman who touched the lives of so many people.
Born Ruth Virginia Jasper on September 4, 1939, to Charles “Frank” and Elizabeth Jasper in Donnelly, Idaho. The family moved to Grand Coulee in 1945. She had eight brothers and two sisters. She completed first through 12th grade in Grand Coulee, and attended Central Washington College of Education in Ellensburg, Wa. Her biggest dream was to teach children; she did this in her everyday life with everyone she knew. She helped her siblings raise their families long before she started one of her own. She was active in the lives of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, there was hardly a child in Ester, Alaska, who did not benefit from her loving presence in their lives.
In 1970 she and her family moved to a cabin in Ester, Alaska, where she raised her three daughters: Barbara, Deborah and Shannan, and her son Denis.
There she became a leader and an iconic matriarch in the community. For over 30 years she was postmaster of Ester. Everyone knew her. Ruth helped organize many community events such as setting up the first book exchange at the post office, organizing countless holiday events from Easter egg hunts to Christmas caroling, and Stone Soup. In the early ’70s Ruth organized Ester’s first clean-up day and helped improve the community in countless ways. She was an active and central figure in the Ester Community Association, a member of the Ester Golden Gals (The Ester Homemaker’s Club), Ruth was a co-founder of the Ester Volunteer Fire Department, where through the years she served as president, secretary-treasurer, and organizer. She was a Civil Air Patrol officer for over a decade where both Shannan and Denis were cadets in the organization.
A Christian in belief and action, Ruth volunteered her time as an advisor, and her passion and love was visible in all she did. She was active in her church in Fairbanks, the First United Methodist and later St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. She was Past Supreme Deputy of Alaska International Order of Rainbow for Girls, Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star, a member Amaranth, and Daughters of the Nile (all part of the Masonic family). Mother Advisor - Fairbanks Assembly #1 Rainbow Girls, offices she held many times over. Ruth received the Cross of Color, the highest service award in Rainbow. She pushed the girls to be their best, offered guidance and support, and the lives of many young women are better for having known her. In Ruth’s own words: “She loved the life of active service.”
Ruth rejoined her parents, her son Denis, and many loved ones who have gone before her.
She is survived by her daughters: Barbara, Deborah, Shannan, and their families; her sons-in-law Bill and Shayne; grandchildren: Willow (husband Tim), Wakan (wife Grace), Chantz, Skyler, and Kallista; great-grandchildren Kailynn, Iris, and Oliver; her sister Jean Porter (Spokane) and brothers Norman Jasper (Kamiah, Idaho) and Jesse Jasper (Newport), numerous nieces, nephews and greats by the hundreds.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Children’s Reading Room of the John Trigg Ester Library, P.O. Box 468, Ester AK 99725.