Ruth Janet Hippely (nee Hoole), 85, of Wilmington, Del., ended her time on this earth peacefully with a smile on her face March 17, 2010, surrounded by family and loved ones.
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Mrs. Hippely was born in 1924 and grew up in Glendive, daughter of Esther Violet and George Gilbert Hoole. Her father, long-time editor and publisher of the Dawson County Review, impressed a dedication to excel on his daughter and she became valedictorian at her high school graduation, entering Montana State College in Bozeman at age 16. There she founded the first women's chemistry sorority at the college, the Electrons, and graduated with a degree in chemistry. She moved to Berkeley, Calif., to do lab work for various companies; the San Francisco Bay area became a spiritual home for her.
In 1955, she married Paul R. Hippely, a chemical engineer and Livingston native, and they moved to Delaware, where both began work at the duPont company. She became a full-time homemaker, raising three children at the home she and Paul made in Wilmington. As the residence of a voracious reader, music lover, and collector, her house became a treasure trove of cultural artifacts.
In later years she and Paul traveled extensively, which allowed her to indulge her delight in the world's diversity of wildlife, geography, art and history.
After losing her beloved husband in 2004, Mrs. Hippely was graced with a third act to her life, when an old friend from her college days, Mr. Graeme Baker, re-entered her life. What began as reminiscence and commiseration over the loss of spouses blossomed into a new love and Mr. Baker became her "significant elder," a companion in further travels and a devoted caregiver for the remainder of her life.
What came through always was her vivacious spirit - how full of life she was. Even as she struggled with whatever obstacles time and age conspired to throw in her way, her enthusiasm spilled over to enliven everyone around her. She was the center of various social circles, a connector, a prodigious letter writer. Always she celebrated youth, vigor, taste, friendship, creativity, common sense, and anything that would make a smart person laugh out loud. She was perennially interested in what is new, and was up for an adventure at any age. Even at 85, she steadfastly refused to become "one of those old people." Ever young at heart, always bright in mind, sharing with friends and family up until her final day, her last word was "Wow!"
Mrs. Hippely is survived by her son, Keith, a toy designer; her son, Ross, a technical writer; her daughter, Andrea, an attorney and lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve; her sister, Marilyn Kathrein; and her brother, Kenneth Hoole.
No memorial service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Delaware Hospice, 3515 Silverside Road, Wilmington, DE 19810; or to Intermountain Children's Home, 500 S. Lamborn, Helena, MT 59601.
For online condolences, please visit www.chandlerfuneralhome.com; arrangements are by Chandler Funeral Home & Crematory, Wilmington, Del.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Apr. 3, 2010