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Ruth Jane McConnell Riley, age 85, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, in Salt Lake City on April 1, 2013. Ruth was born in an old stone house on August 14, 1927 to Julia and Clarence McConnell in Jackson County, Minnesota. She graduated from Okabena High School and later from cosmetology school in Mankato, Minnesota.
She married James (Jim) Matt Riley on January 29, 1949 at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Brewster, Minnesota. They lived in Minneapolis where Jim completed his education at the
University of Minnesota
. She worked as a beautician at Dayton's Department Store, until the first of their seven daughters was born. Their young and growing family followed Jim's career as a chemical and mining engineer to Riverdale, North Dakota and Rapid City, South Dakota, before settling in Salt Lake City. Ruth and Jim were quite a sight to see, with their seven daughters lined up in church, all wearing red coats.
She was a devoted homemaker, mother, wife and grandmother. She was a devout Catholic and member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish. She loved her cats and had a very tender heart for pets. She took in and found homes for many strays.
She was preceded in death by her parents, and a brother, Lloyd McConnell. She is survived by her husband Jim, her sister, Mavis Baumguard, Worthington Minn., daughters Catherine (Bob Lambert), Mary Ellen, Jane (Hugh Brown), Joan, Rita (Leo Embry), Sara (Paul Colosimo) and Trudi (Jim Frenchik). She was the beloved "Pink Gram" to her 16 grandchildren, Rob, Patrick, Shawn, Jeff, Ben, Monica, Brian, Eric, Melissa, Anna, Ryan, Lucy, Sam, Riley, Alex and Mathew. She was also blessed with 3 great-grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be celebrated Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 1375 East Spring Lane, SLC, Ut., where friends may call upon the family one hour prior. A rosary service will be held Friday at 7:00 p.m. at St. Vincent's, where friends may call from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. Committal to follow at Mt. Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 4th Avenue and "T" Street.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to The Humane Society of Utah. Online condolences may be offered to the family at
Published in Salt Lake Tribune on Apr. 3, 2013
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"Trudy and Family... So sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. My deepest sympathy goes out to all of..."
"Joan, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother, you and your family are in my prayers. Sincerely, ..."
- Margie Melendez-Fresques
"Mary Ellen and family, We are so sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are..."
- Sue Cook
"Dear Joan, I am so very, very sorry. My heart aches for you."
- Penny Murphy
"Joan I am so sorry to hear of your loss. If I can do anything to help, please call on me. I will keep..."
- Rosalie Carter
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