Obituary of Herbert Leo Rueth
Herbert “Chub” Leo Rueth, 93 years old of Parma, Idaho passed away at his home surrounded by his loved ones on May 26, 2023. Herb was born in Loyal, Wisconsin on August 21, 1929 to Leo Rueth and Agnes Suda. While Herb was always well-known for his good judgment, perhaps his wisest decision came fairly early in his life when he married Kathleen “Kap” O’Brien on October 3, 1951. His family soon grew with the addition of 10 children, seven boys and three girls, and a dairy farm in Loyal, Wisconsin. During a hunting trip to Idaho in 1967, Herb saw the potential the state held for his family, and when he returned home to Loyal, he promptly sold everything, packed up his family, and moved to Idaho, where they began milking cows at their new dairy within nine days—all typical of the speed at which Herb completed all tasks he set his mind to.
While greatly blessed throughout his life, Herb’s fortitude was often challenged. One such challenge came in 1972, when Idaho Fish and Game dammed up the Sand Hollow Drain, leading to the eventual flooding and destruction of Herb and Kap’s dairy. While enduring a ten-year court battle against Fish and Game, Herb was determined to rebuild his dairy and purchased new land in 1976—this time on a hill—and by 1978 Herb and his sons were milking cows in a barn they had built themselves, in part with materials they salvaged from the remains of their first Idaho dairy. After the lengthy court battle, including appeals in front of the Idaho Supreme Court, Herb and Kap were eventually awarded a sum of money they reinvested into their new dairy on the hill, a sprawling 160 acres, that they were immensely proud of. Herb was quite intentional on his choice of the new property and was known for saying, “Nobody but the almighty is going to flood me out again.” This story was routinely reported on by the local newspapers, with one article concluding that Herb’s story was one about “guts, determination, hard work and a stubborn attitude to beat the odds.” That is, indeed, Herb’s story.
One of Herb’s life goals was to turn his dairy operation over to his sons, and he did just that. In 1990, Herb officially retired, but true to his nature, his idea of “retirement” included a new entrepreneurial venture of logging and building his own sawmill to work the trees into usable poles and lumber. He also continued to serve as the machinist for the dairy, keeping all of the equipment running smoothly and on time. But Herb was also sure to make time for lots of fishing and hunting with family and friends throughout the years. He also was a meticulous gardener, but of course his idea of a garden included partitioning a side of field with hundreds of plants and rows upon rows of his famous sweetcorn. Given how weedless his garden was, one might think that the weeds were just too intimidated to grow there, but like everything else he did, it was the result of his and Kap’s daily attention. Of everything he accomplished, though, he was the most proud of his family and his faith.
Herb is survived by his wife Kap of 72 years and his ten children: Charles (Brenda) Rueth, Gerald Rueth, Shelia (Randy) Keith, Sharon Rueth, Randall Rueth, Douglas Rueth, Fredrick Rueth, Raymond (Vickie) Rueth, Norman (Jody) Rueth, and Shelby Hilliard (Clint Koplin). He was also blessed by others who were like his children, including Dennis (Debie) DeBord, Santiago (Kristen) Guerricabeitia, and Kyle (Laura) Nolder. His ten children brought him 22 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren—and counting.
Herb is preceded by his parents, Leo and Agnes, and his siblings: Bernard “Bun” (Marjorie) Rueth, Edward “Eddie” (Florence) Rueth, Patrick (Carol) Rueth, Mary Ann (Frank) Gleichsner, Jayne (Lavern) Kolbeck, and his twin brothers Joseph and John Rueth, who passed at birth. He is also preceded by his in-laws, James and Lila O’Brien; two of his brothers-in-law, Richard and Jim O’Brien; his daughter-in-law Anita Rueth; and two of his grandsons, Craig Rueth and Dustin Chant.
A rosary will be held in Herb’s honor on Wednesday, May 31st at St. Bridget of Kildare Catholic Church in Nyssa, OR. The service will be officiated by Father Jose at St. Bridget’s on Thursday, June 1st at 1:00, followed by a burial at the Parma cemetery and a dinner reception at the Parma Senior Center. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Signature Healthcare at Home of Payette and/or St. Bridget of Kildare in Nyssa, OR.
Herb leaves behind a legacy with the land he tended, the animals he raised, and his loved ones who admire him dearly—all guided by his faith in the Lord.
“Just a Man” by Doug Rueth
About the time my life was to start
I could feel I was blessed with my mother’s heart.
And also about that time a feeling so true,
I think her heart had some help from a man she knew.
But with my whole life ahead of me, I couldn’t understand
what could be so special about just one man?
But it didn’t take long for me to see clear
that my father had the love of my mother,
and to the ends of the earth she could go with no fear.
As us kids grew to lend a helping hand,
we learned about love, loyalty, and respect, watching this woman and this man.
As life forced us up a creek a time or two,
we would all climb on my father’s back as he would pull us through.
Weathering these storms that were always coming our way,
I never noticed the load on his shoulder as we worked through the day,
but at night he would always come to mind as I got on my knees to pray.
With the pictures of growing up that came back to mind,
they clearly show our father leading the way,
while our mother keeping us all in line.
As these two hearts devote to us their love that only a large family would find.
To me it looks more like love from one heart that two souls shared till the end of time.
Now out here on my own, where these storms are all mine,
I notice how much I miss my father being around all the time.
But there for a while I had the kind of love that him and my mother did find.
It feels like it left only yesterday, as it stays so clear in my mind.
Just like with her, the good times with my father are so easy to find.
The hunting trips are way too few, for they are my favorite kind.
My dad used to say, give me a big enough pry and a place to stand,
and I can move the world with just one hand.
Now as I see all the worlds my father has moved,
I come to understand how my mother’s heart is being held,
by lots more than just a man.
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