Ruby Jean (Rose) Tolsma was born in El Centro, California, on June 13, 1946. She was the first child of Ben and Jessie (Burney) Rose. She spent her early years in various towns in Southern California, where her two sisters, Brenda and Jeri, joined the family. The family moved to Boise, Idaho in 1952.
She died on September 25, 2021, at West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell, due to a breakthrough case of COVID-19, with her husband, daughter, and son-in-law by her side. Unfortunately, she could not fight both an infection and the virus due to some underlying health conditions. The family would like to thank the dedicated (and highly overworked) doctors, nurses, and staff at West Valley for their exceptional and compassionate care of Ruby, where she spent her final days. She looked forward to seeing her Savior, Jesus Christ, in Heaven.
Ruby attended first and second grade at Garfield Elementary and then moved to the brand new Campus Elementary. She completed elementary school at Lowell, then went to North Junior High before graduating from Boise High School in 1964. She also attended classes at Boise Junior College.
Faith was an essential part of her life. She attended Baptist Temple in Boise as a child. Later she attended Canyon Hill Church of the Nazarene and finally found her church home at Deer Flat Methodist Church in Caldwell. She loved babies and worked in the nursery at Deer Flat for many years, a job she enjoyed very much. In addition, she and her husband enjoyed Life Group meetings with their friends.
Ruby began her work career at the Idaho Fish & Game Department in 1964, where she made some wonderful lifelong friendships. In 1968 she began working for the Department of Health in Boise. Her career continued with the Department of Health and Welfare as an Administrative Secretary and later in Caldwell and Nampa as an Eligibility Examiner. She retired from Health and Welfare in 1990. Later, she resumed work at the Caldwell Department of Motor Vehicles until she fully retired in 1994.
Ruby married the love of her life, Tony Tolsma, on March 7, 1970, in Boise, Idaho. She was always his “jewel.” They later moved to Homedale, where they co-managed the Owyhee Lanes & Restaurant and welcomed their daughter Margo. They later moved to Caldwell, Idaho, and opened Tolsma Auto Body in 1981. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with friends and family at The Bowling Alley, formerly Owyhee Lanes.
She was involved in many activities and organizations. From 1971 to 1986, she spent most summer Saturday nights cheering on her husband, Tony, at Meridian Speedway. She sold programs to support the Western Idaho Racing Association Auxiliary and served as president one year. On weekends when Tony wasn’t racing, they camped or spent time at the family cabin in Cascade. She bowled at both Owyhee Lanes and Caldwell Bowl for decades and very much enjoyed the friendships she made with her teammates and competitors. One of her proudest bowling moments was winning the State Doubles Tournament. Traveling was one of her favorite things, and Cruise Idaho trips were something that she particularly looked forward to. They took several trips in the ‘72 Blazer and ‘40 Ford that Tony lovingly restored. After her retirement, she joined Tony in membership of the Caldwell Optimist Club and was president of that association for a year.
Her favorite activities were playing games and watching game shows. It was widely known that after dinner at the Tolsmas’ place, the cards would come out to play for who did the dishes. She almost always won when the stakes were that high. Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune were her favorite shows, and the Game Show Network was always on when she had control of the remote.
One thing about Ruby is that she never met a stranger. Anytime she got the chance, she introduced herself and asked, “Where are you from?” She had an uncanny ability to find and make connections with people wherever she went.
Ruby was preceded in death by her parents, Ben and Jessie Rose, and sister, Brenda Fralish, her father-in-law Ray Tolsma and mother-in-law Virginia (Tolsma) Josephson. She is survived by her husband, Tony Tolsma of Caldwell, her daughter Margo (Todd) Phariss, her three grandchildren, Delaney (Trey) Lane, Dylan (Hannah Downum) Phariss, and Lindy Phariss, and a great-grandson, Callum Phariss. She is also survived by her sister Jeri (John Strange) Rose, brother-in-law, Neil Fralish, step father-in-law Don Josephson, and many other beloved family members, including sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Services will be held at Deer Flat Free Methodist Church at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 6, followed by a graveside service at Canyon Hill Cemetery. Please join the family back at Deer Flat for lunch afterward.
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