Ann Ruehr Profile Photo
1936 Ann 2023

Ann Ruehr

February 28, 1936 — March 22, 2023

Ann Ruehr, longtime resident of Jackson, Wyoming and Billings, Montana, passed away on Wednesday, March 22nd in Missoula, from a brain tumor.  Ann leaves behind a legacy of her love and passion for family, friends, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and the entire west. 


Ann was born to Harry and Beryl Wurtzel on February 28th, 1936, and grew up among friends and family in Freeport, Illinois.  After graduating from High School (where she met her future husband Ben- another Freeport Pretzel), Ann ventured out west to attend the University of Colorado.  She reconnected with Ben, and they both fell in love with the Rocky Mountain west.  Married April 1st, 1956, they moved to Laramie Wyoming to finish their college degrees.    This is also when they made their first trip to Jackson Hole, camping on the edge of the Teton National Park, in the original Gros Ventre river camp ground.  It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with Jackson Hole and the Tetons.


As an exploration geologist for Texaco, Ben’s job took them to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and back to the Denver area.  Ann made close friends everywhere they went and kept them for life.   Sally and David joined the family in the 60’s and Ann perfected her skills in planning and coordinating family adventures:  camping, fishing, and skiing. After returning to the Denver area, every fall, Ann and Ben took the kids out of school for several weeks of camping in Jackson.  Canoeing at String Lake and building dams on the Gros Ventre river were among the regular activities.  Ben fished of course, and Ann ran camp! 


Ben joined Milestone Oil in Billings Montana in 1982, and Ann again embraced a new community and made many dear friends.   When Ben’s job with Milestone took them to Houston Texas, they kept a house in Billings where they would live part time after retirement.  While in Houston, Ann and Ben added travel to their already adventurous life.

When Ben retired, Ann and Ben fulfilled their lifelong dream of making Jackson home.  Ann always had a fierce loyalty to her WYO 22 license plates!  She often said she had to pinch herself to make sure the life she was living was not just a dream.   She and Ben shared their Jackson life with friends and family from near and far.   Evening picnics at String Lake, with a well-stocked mobile bar in place, were a treat enjoyed by many.


Ann loved seeing all of her grandchildren grow and come to love everything the west has to offer in their own right.  There are many great memories of grandkids exploring the mysteries of Ben’s “den” full of western memorabilia, and benefiting from some activity sponsored by Grandma Ann, a trip into Yellowstone in the winter, visiting New York, float trips, a climb up the Grand Teton; the list goes on.  Ann loved seeing her kids, and grandkids living life to the fullest.


Ben and Ann also became active contributors to organizations they felt represented their passion and love for the west, making many donations to worthy recipients including the Grand Teton National Park Foundation, the Jackson Hole Art Museum and the both the Billings and Jackson Hole symphonies.

 After Ben died, Ann set up an endowment at the University of Wyoming in Ben’s name at the University of Wyoming (Ben B Ruehr Fossil Digitization endowment). The endowment continues to be active and grow and is a wonderful legacy for Ben.


Throughout her life, Ann was the backbone of her family.  She was the social coordinator, the preparer, and the organizer, and supported Ben’s career over many moves and changes. Ever the optimist, she would take any challenge as an opportunity to make things better.  If she was determined, then it was going to get done! 


In 2015, with Ben’s health declining, Ann and Ben made the hard decision to sell their home in Jackson and make Billings their permanent home.  They visited Jackson whenever possible.  Ben passed away in 2018.   As hard as this loss was for Ann, she was quick to carry on the life that she and Ben had built, keeping his memory alive by doing the things they had both loved.  She also continued to travel internationally, spend time with friends and had a renewed focus on her children and grandchildren.  


Ann can best be remembered as a woman who loved life and was loved by many.  She was always up for an adventure, making lasting friendships and supporting her kids.  She leaves behind the joys of her life, Sally Ann (Chisholm) and David, six grandchildren, a great grandchild, and wonderful memories of a life well lived.


According to Ann’s wishes, there are no services planned.  Her ashes will go to the places she loved.  




To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ann Ruehr, please visit our flower store.


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