Lottie Ruder, 1924-2008, of Minturn | VailDaily.com

Lottie Ruder, 1924-2008, of Minturn

Charmayne Bernhardt
Special to the Daily
Minturn, Colorado

She loved butterflies … and her quiet countenance was similar to those tiny, jeweled creatures. During her life she witnessed the metamorphosis of the “at-one-time-sleepy” Minturn, Colorado, sheltered beneath the shadow of the lion’s head-shaped rock.

Lottie Phyllis (Warren) Ruder was the fourth of nine children born to Ray and Marie Warren in Red Cliff on May 9, 1924. She died on Nov 8.

Unlike precocious Ella (Warren) Burnett, “Lottie was always the good girl”, Ella says of her sister.

“It never occurred to her to get into mischief,” Burnett said. “Lottie helped Mother with the never-ending chores of caring for a big family.”

The Warren children thrived in the outdoors, tobogganed down the hills of the Red Cliff cemetery, and took to the woods for hikes and snowshoeing in the winter.

Her education came from the Red Cliff school system, from which she graduated high school in 1942. She and Ella were both members of the Tri Alpha Honor Society and Lottie worked on the high school newspaper.

She played the clarinet in the high school marching band, while sister, Ella, wielded a baton as the majorette. They both ran relay races for the Red Cliff track team, “but with such short legs we certainly didn’t set any records,” says Ella.

In the summer, Lottie kept house and cared for the children of her Aunt Irma and Uncle Jim Collins while Jim worked as the Minturn postmaster and Irma owned and operated a clothing store in Minturn.

Lottie was a member of “Neighbors of Woodcraft,” a society started in the early 1900s to help those in need. The society had a “guard team” (like a drill team) that performed routines and marched in parades in Red Cliff and Maloit Park. In those days the park was used for social functions mostly for the workers of the Gilman Mine.

When World War II rocked the country, Lottie went to Denver to work in a factory making anti-aircraft missile parts. She lived there for three years but returned to the mountains on weekends and every chance she got, which was not an easy task in those days before I-70 and the Eisenhower Tunnel.

After the war, Lottie returned to her beloved valley and worked at Dave’s Cafe (now Chilly Willie’s) in Minturn as a cook. She was known for her pies and made the most delicious crust.

The taste of rhubarb-strawberry pie still lingers in the memory of her daughter, Phyllis. No doubt her pies helped win the heart of Edward “Buddy” Ruder, of Minturn, whom she knew most of her life and married in 1946. They had three daughters, Phyllis, Judy, and Shirley, whom they raised in Minturn.

Shirley’s garden attracted the butterflies Lottie enjoyed so much. Judy even created a butterfly quilt for her and Phyllis, a terrific photographer, delighted her mother with many photos of the beautiful little visitors.

Later on, Lottie was employed for many years at CMI, a business started by Jack Fritzlen in Pete and Ella Burnett’s old laundry building in Minturn. The business grew and moved to what is now the Shaeffer Construction building in Eagle-Vail. They made radar speed guns and breathalyzers used by law enforcement.

Lottie had some health challenges and one cold, Christmas Eve she was walking home from Ella’s house and must have “blacked out.” She came to lying on her back in the middle of the road with her dog looking down at her and wondering, did “Grandma get run over by a reindeer”? (Which, jokingly, became her theme song after that).

She also had to adjust to a salt-free diet, which was not to her liking. Sneaking the saltshaker at meals became a quest. Her brother-in-law, Pete, would catch her in the act and chide her into relinquishing her prize. “Who made you my boss?” she’d ask him. “I have too many bosses!”

Changes in “the times”, the valley, her family, and her health were handled in her quiet and stoic way. She kept her own counsel and endured the process with enviable courage. She is survived by two sisters, five brothers, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Her pleasure in the beauty of nature will be just one of the gifts she gave those who knew her, and who will remember that … she loved butterflies.


Support Local Journalism