James Lyle Ruterbories was born February 24, 1920 on the family farm in Clearwater, Nebraska, to John Herman Ruterbories and Mary Elisabeth Ruterbories. Lyle was the third-born son, and he had two older brothers, Daryl and Don, along with a younger sister, Bernice.
Lyle started school in the first grade, but he was soon moved up to the third grade. When he was in the fifth grade, he attended Catholic school with a little girl named Marjorie Bennett. In fact, he sat directly behind her in class, and Marjorie had pigtails that Lyle enjoyed dipping into his inkwell. That year, a Smallpox outbreak happened, sending the kids home around Christmas Time, Lyle included. He didn’t return to elementary school.
Lyle attended high school in Neligh, Nebraska, and the Ruterbories family left for Oregon before his graduation ceremony. Since he skipped most of the first grade and all of second grade, he was sixteen at graduation.
Soon, the family moved back to Nebraska from Oregon, stopping to pick fruit in Washington and Idaho. They even stopped in Nampa to pick pears.
Now in Elgin, Nebraska, the Ruterbories family bought and ran the Gambles store. Lyle became re-acquainted with the girl with the pigtails, and Lyle and Marjorie Bennett were married on February 4, 1941. Lyle worked in an aircraft factory.
Lyle and Margie’s firstborn son, Leland (Lee), was born in 1942, and their next son, Ronald (Ron), arrived in 1944. Lyle was drafted into the army soon afterward, on October 30, 1944, where he served at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Due to a previous knee injury, the Army declared that he was not physically fit to fight in the war overseas. He received an honorable discharge on January 25, 1945.
When he got home, Lyle worked for the Beech Aircraft Company as the final inspector on the assembly line. The company built training bombers for the Army Air Corps.
While living in Kansas, Margie and Lyle had three more children. Virginia (Ginger) was born in 1946, Gerald (Jerry) in 1949, and MarlaJean in 1952.
Meanwhile, Lyle’s parents and older brothers had moved to Denver, Colorado, where they worked building houses and apartment buildings. Since Lyle sought a better life for his family, he moved them to Denver too. At first, he worked for Montgomery Ward. Then he got a job at Rocky Flats Nuclear Warhead plant near Boulder, Colorado where he was a guard. During this time, he returned to school and became a sheet metal worker.
Margie and Lyle had one more son during this time, LeRoy, who was born in 1956.
Lyle retired from Rocky Flats at the tender age of 65 years old. It was 1985, but Lyle still had a lot of life to live, a lot of sights to see, and a lot of people to inspire.
Together, Lyle and Margie worked as volunteers for the Park Service until 1988 when they hired him on as Park Ranger at Glacier National Park. He was 68. He was the Kintla Lake Ranger, going up there every season on his own, after Marjorie passed in 2005, until October 2017 when he retired for good at age 97.
When Lyle grew sick that year, he came to Idaho to live with his daughters, MarlaJean and Ginger. They took care of him until he fell and broke his hip, at which point they moved him into The Orchards of Cascadia in Nampa, Idaho. Lyle Ruterbories passed away peacefully on December 13, 2022. He was just shy of 103 years old.
Lyle was married to Marjorie Bennett for 64 years. They raised six children. He is preceded in death by his wife, Marjorie, two sons, Lee and Ron, and two grandchildren. He is survived by his children, Ginger, Jerry, MarlaJean (Dennis), and LeRoy (Shavaun), along with 19 grandchildren, 35 great grandchildren, and 9 great-great grandchildren. Lyle traveled to 100 countries across all seven continents (even Antarctica!). He was a Master Gardener and an avid hiker and rock hound.
Lyle leaves behind a legacy of determination and strong work ethic. He loved life and lived it fully.
A funeral service will be held 2:00 pm, Friday, December 23, 2022 at Bowman Funeral Parlor, 10254 W. Carlton Bay Dr., Garden City, Idaho, with a public viewing beginning at 1:00 pm.
To watch the memorial service, please visit: https://vimeo.com/784030480