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Ruby Erck

Obituary Condolences

Ruby Erck Obituary
MISSOULA – Ruby Erck, 84, of Missoula, died following a short illness Wednesday, May 9, at a local hospital.

Visitation is noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Garden City Funeral Home. Services are 11 a.m. Monday at Meadowview Community Church, 3821 Stephens Avenue (corner of S.W. Higgins) in Missoula, followed by a reception at Ruby's Inn, 4825 N. Reserve Street, Missoula.

Ruby was a beloved wife, sister, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She leaves behind a legacy in both her professional and her personal life of someone who strived always to be the best person she could be. She touched many lives with her kindness and generosity and willingness to give and support every person she came in contact with. She will be missed.

Ruby, proprietor of Ruby's Inn & Convention Center in Missoula, was a valued member of the Missoula business community. She was one of the most respected hoteliers in Montana, a former president of the Missoula Hospitality Association and leading member of the Montana Innkeepers Association, where she was honored as Hotelier of the Year. With her husband and business partner Lou Erck, she founded and operated six hotels in Montana and Idaho.

In addition to her business interests, Ruby was involved in a wide range of community and philanthropic activities. She was an early sponsor and devoted supporter of The Missoula Children's Theater, where she helped raise funds for the creation of the new theater on East Broadway. MCT's Little Red Trucks - which brings theatre to thousands of children in communities across the country - can often be seen in Ruby's parking lot, where volunteers stay when they are training for MCT tours. Ruby was a longtime Griz supporter and sponsor, and a patron of the Watson's Children Shelter. She was particularly committed to causes that support children in crisis. She was a woman of strong Christian faith and active in the founding and development of the Meadow View Community Church in Missoula.

Ruby was born in Bailey, Texas, in 1928 to parents Jake and Rosa Shockley; she was the only daughter of their five children. She graduated from Bailey High School and studied at North Texas State University. Ruby played high school basketball and retained an interest in sports throughout her life. Aside from her devotion to Griz teams - especially the Lady Griz - she became an enthusiastic skier when she and Lou moved the family to Montana in 1972, a passion she passed on to her grandchildren, many of whom she taught to ski on the baby slopes of Marshall ski area in East Missoula. In later years, family gatherings at Big Mountain became an annual highlight for Ruby and her family. In summers, she presided over a large and growing family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren at the family cabin on Placid Lake, where she also welcomed friends and her work colleagues for summer celebrations and water sports.

After their marriage in East Texas in 1946, Ruby and Lou spent many years working in the radio industry, operating radio stations in Wyoming and New Mexico and finally in Montana, which brought them to Missoula where they ran KGMY until their retirement from radio in 1977. Ruby found her true calling when in 1981 she established Ruby's Inn; her natural flair for hospitality flowered into a fulfilling career that lasted to the end of her life. Actively engaged in managing her business to the end, she still found time to greet guests for breakfast and to enjoy the company of everybody involved at Ruby's. She will be greatly missed by the managers and staff of all her hotels, where she was an inspirational and much loved leader.

Ruby was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Harold and JB Shockley; her daughter, Pennie; and her grandson, Billy Poole.

She is survived by her husband, Lou Erck; her four children Paisley, Phyllis, Charles and Rose; her brothers, Guy and Wayne Shockley; and 12 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to pay tribute to the nursing staff at St Patrick's Hospital in Missoula, who were exceptionally kind and compassionate to Ruby and her family in her last days. Any memorial contributions should be made to the . A memorial celebration of Ruby's life will be held at a later date.

Condolences may be posted online at www.missoulafuneralhomes.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on May 13, 2012
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