By Daria Andersen-Faden
The Observer 

Ruth Phillips: Mom The Hero


November 28, 2019

John Faden / For The Observer

Surrounded by her eight children, Ruth Phillips enjoys when they all come home. Sitting, from left, are Carmen, proud mom Ruth and Sarah. Standing are Rich, Helen, Alex, Felix, Gerri and Michael.

Heroes comes in all shapes, sizes and ages. At 88 years old, Ruth Phillips is the matriarch and family hero to her eight adult children.

The eight children have a true devotion to their mother. They know that she worked very hard to raise them, and she provided each and every one of them with a great work ethic.

"I am so proud of them" Ruth said ... before giving some parental advice.

"These kids now don't get spanked," she said. "My kids wouldn't dare talk to me like kids talk to their parents now."

In addition, her intuition told her how disruptive drugs could be, so she begged her children to stay away from drugs and those people doing drugs.

A variety of jobs kept food on the young Flores family table in the 1950s and '60s. Ruth worked a variety of jobs, which included cleaning motels rooms, cleaning houses for $1.50 an hour, and ironing for people.

Ruth made three dozen tortillas every day just for her kids to eat.

Her children were raised on beans, potatoes, burritos and tacos-and they spoke English at home.

"Rich knows "Spanglish," but that is due more to his job, she said.

Only four times in all these years have all eight of her children gathered together. The most recent time was Farmer's Day 2019.

Her children are spread throughout Nebraska, Colorado and California. All of them were born in Kimball except for the eldest, Carmen. In July 1950, when Carmen was born, Kimball didn't have a hospital. That didn't change until September 1950, so Carmen was born in Sidney.

For the past 30 years, Ruth worked at GRI until her recent retirement..

Ruth was born in Ault, Colo., and moved to Kimball in 1945 with her family when she was in the eighth grade. Her father got a job with the railroad.

Like many young people in the 1940s, eighth grade was the end of Ruth's formal education. From 1945 until her marriage in 1949, Ruth worked in the area beet fields, hoeing beets and picking potatoes.

"Those were hard jobs," she said.

Ruth's husband died in early 1975. She later married Norman Phillips, who died in 1983.


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