Terry Wayne Ruttman, formerly from White Bird, Idaho, passed away at his home in Jamestown, Calif., on Sept. 26, 2020, from complications of pneumonia. He was 75 years old.
Terry was born at the Grangeville Hospital on Nov. 28, 1944. Growing up he showed a passion for all things with wheels. Descending the hairpin turns of old White Bird Hill on his bicycle as a pre-teen, he didn’t hesitate to pass slow moving cars. As a teen and young adult, he found joy in racing, and he won several events at the Speedway in Meridian. In his later years, he loved attending car shows. For many years running, he met his younger brother, Kenny, and his son, Carey, in Reno for Hot August Nights. He was an expert with painting and body work, and he usually always had a restoration project in the works.
Terry was very social growing up and loved school primarily for that reason. He attended both Grangeville and Riggins high schools. He had a great sense of humor, saw the funny side of just about any situation, and kept his friends and family laughing throughout his life. His work took him to many different locations, and he made friends wherever he went. He truly knew how to have a good time. A typical vacation for Terry and his wife, Patty, involved hopping in their truck, driving from town to town, spending time with one friend after another, eating the best comfort food available, checking out some car shows, and covering a few thousand miles in the process.
Terry was known throughout his life as a capable and hard worker. At the age of 12, he started working summers with his dad hauling logs. For many years, he ran a crew installing underground cable in California. Although he had no difficulty working for others, he was happiest working for himself. For the last 24 years of his working career, he operated a yard in Livermore, Calif., brokering cars, trucks, and heavy equipment. He was particularly skilled at finding old vehicles with potential, fixing them up, and selling them.
Although Terry had a rugged exterior and was tough as nails, he had an unusually soft spot in his heart, especially when it came to animals. Growing up, he was the only member of his family who refused to hunt. At his yard in Livermore, he befriended Buster, a stray mutt who became his long-time faithful sidekick. Terry kept an eye out for people who needed help, and he had a sentimental side that was easily stirred.
Terry was a bit of a nomad until he met his wife, Patty. In 1993, he called his sister to let her know that he had found someone very special. In 2006, he closed his yard in Livermore, and he and Patty purchased a 2.5-acre parcel in the foothills near Jamestown. Bit by bit, they crafted it into their ideal setting for retirement, complete with a pond, a sizable shop, and an outbuilding that Terry converted and named the “White Bird Saloon.” For many years, the saloon was a favorite gathering place for neighbors, family, and friends from far and wide.
Terry was preceded in his death by his son, Carey Ruttman, and his brother, Kenny Ruttman. He is survived by his best friend and wife of 27 years, Patty; sister Lee Anna Hill and nephew Charlie Hill of Boise, Idaho; daughter Terri Ruttman of Florida; granddaughters Tori Norris, Cheyanne Norris, and Jame Paul; great-grandchildren Viktoria, Jojo, and Lincoln; sister-in-law Marcia Ruttman of Apache Junction, Ariz.; and his dog Buster.
In lieu of flowers, Terry’s family asks that you please consider donating to the White Bird Emergency Relief Fund, P.O. Box 238, White Bird, Idaho, 83554.