Ruth D. Saholt, 87

Published 6:35 am Sunday, November 23, 2014



Ruth (Dorothy) Saholt, 87 of Whitefish, Montana, passed away peacefully on Nov. 8, 2014. Ruth was born on Dec. 9, 1926, in Pella, Iowa to Albertus (Bert) and Cornelis (Kate) Van Ee. After her mother died when she was very young she was cared for by her aunt Hattie until age 5 when she went to live with her uncle and aunt, Leonard and Ann Van Ee, who raised her as part of their family.  Ruth graduated from Pella High School and attended Central College in Pella for three years. In 1947, Ruth married Leon Vander Schaaf and moved to Austin, Minnesota, where she worked as a secretary for Hormel Foods Corp. She became a homemaker when her sons were born.

Ruth was a loving mother and grandmother who taught her sons to be engaged in life with a special emphasis on reading, education, playing the piano and physical activity, especially swimming and golf. In 1979, she left Minnesota, her home of more than 31 years, and bought The Book Shoppe in Whitefish, Montana. Being an avid reader, Ruth decided that owning a bookshop was the perfect vocation. Having never been to Montana before, she soon became an admirer of its beauty and kind people. For many years, she was the proprietor of The Book Shoppe, where no special order was too insignificant for her index cards, which tracked every customer’s reading pleasure. Ruth married Bill Saholt in 1980, and they shared a happy life together at their Forest Ridge condominium. She was an active swimmer and longtime member of the Whitefish Lake Golf Club where she was known as a “warrior” teeing off at 7 a.m. many summer mornings with her good friends.

She supported several organizations including The Nature Conservancy and Accessible Space Inc. The Van Ee Apartments in Kalispell, Montana, developed by Accessible Space and designed for seniors with disabilities, is named in honor of her compassionate generosity.

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Ruth was a person of strong faith and a member of the Christ Lutheran Church. She met with a weekly Bible study group and was always willing to share with others her knowledge of the scripture. She was also involved in the Whitefish Soroptimist Club. Her love of pets was unending as she could never pass by a dog without giving it a pat; she will rest easy knowing that her cat, Serafina, is being cared for by family members.

She is survived by her sons, Dick (Marcia), Stephen (Debora) and James (Sandy, deceased) Vander Schaaf; her cousin, Byron Van Ee (Shirley); six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by husband William Saholt; her parents; and brothers, Wilbur and Vernon.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 a.m. on Dec. 13 at the Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish, Montana. She will be interred at the Oakwood Cemetery in Pella, Iowa, in the Van Ee family plot. In lieu of flowers, Ruth has asked that memorials be made to Christ Lutheran Church or the Humane Society.