Ruth Ilene Jensen Whalen Deardeuff

Feb. 7, 1921 –  Jan. 27, 2018

Ruth Ilene Jensen Whalen Deardeuff was born in Lovell on Feb. 7, 1921. She was the ninth of 10 children. When she was very young the family moved to a farm in Cowley. She started school in 1926 when she was 5 years old and attended school in Cowley through high school, graduating in 1938.

Ruth Ilene Jensen Whalen Deardeuff

On Sept. 15, 1940, she married William Carroll Whalen on his birthday. Carroll was the father of two young boys, William (Bill) Carroll Whalen and John Patrick Whalen, whose mother had died of pneumonia when they were very tiny. Carroll and Ruth had three more children, Michael Francis, James Gordon and Kathleen Carroll. The kids all graduated from school in Cowley, except for Bill, who graduated from Lovell, where they had a better football program. They loved Cowley and thought it was the best town in Wyoming. Cowley was home to the Carroll Whalen Orchestra and many fond memories over the years.

In 1967, Ruth and Carroll left Cowley for Seattle. Kathleen had just graduated and most of the children were already living in the Seattle area. Ruth had been managing the Montgomery Ward store in Lovell for several years and was able to transfer to Seattle. She managed a thriving catalog store for 22 years, until the store was bought out, and she retired at age 62.

A few months after she retired, Carroll passed away. The couple had been married 45 years. This brought huge changes to Ruth’s life. That first year she was called to be Relief Society president. She felt like it was a great blessing and opportunity to serve. She also began serving in the Seattle Temple in the training office.

“I loved every minute of it,” Ruth said of working in the temple.

About three years later, Ruth was introduced to Vernie Deardeuff by good friends. He had recently been widowed and lived alone in Oak Harbor, Wash. He was retired from the U.S. Navy and was serving as the Stake Patriarch for the Mount Vernon LDS Stake. After Ruth and Vernie were married in 1988, she moved to Oak Harbor. As Vernie’s wife, she had the opportunity to transcribe the blessings Vernie gave as Patriarch. They started serving in the temple together. Every week, they would spend two days traveling to Seattle to work in the temple.

In 1991, Ruth and Vernie served in the Tallahassee Florida Mission. They enjoyed their missionary service and living in a different part of the country. They were able to see the Atlanta Georgia Temple and attend the EXPO World Fair before they returned home.

Back in Washington, they continued serving in the temple until 2006, when Ruth was 85 years old. She had worked in the temple for 22 years. Ruth continued to serve in the church, hosting a Family Home Evening group every week in their home until two years ago. She also worked in the library at church every Sunday for many years. She continued serving and sharing her positive example.

She is the grandmother of 26 (three being deceased). Together with Vernie they have 68 grandchildren with 153 great-grandchildren, and great-greats, as well. Ruth and Vernie were married 28 years. With Ruth’s passing on Jan. 27, 2018, Vernie will now be moving to Idaho to live with his daughter.

In response to comments about their age and legacy, Ruth said, “We love our long life.”

To send one of our special floral arrangements, please call Valley Flowers & Gifts in Lovell, 307-548-7101


  1. Joan and I remember Ruth sitting with my mother, Mary Welch, at the Cowley log gym during the wonderful music being played by Caroll Whalens band. She, like my mom, was a beautiful lady….Nick Welch

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