Ruth Lois Lovegren July 1, 1932 - January 27, 2023
Last updated 1/31/2023 at Noon
Ruth Lois Lovegren was born on July 1, 1932, along with her twin brother, Reuben Lowell Prinzing, in Faribault, Minnesota, to Raymond Edward Prinzing and Pearl Dorothy Louise Prinzing. Ruth passed ahead peacefully, steadfast in her faith in God, on January 27, at the age of 90.
Ruth was the peacemaker in the middle of three girls and three boys. Her family moved to Idaho when she was nine, where her father bought a farm to raise Jersey dairy cows and also became a gypo logger. Ruth began working at 16 for Goody’s Bakery. Then she worked the fountain at Van’s Creamery (which bought milk from her father). Moving on from waitressing, she obtained a job as a bank teller. By the time she turned 19, Ruth decided it was time to leave home. Her older sister and two brothers lived in Eugene, Oregon, so she followed them.
Ruth said her world changed from black and white to technicolor when she met Ken Lovegren, one of Eugene’s most eligible bachelors. The owner of Lovegren Lumber Company, he bought and sold trainloads of wholesale lumber. They married on Christmas day 1954, so that brothers in the Coast Guard and Army could be in the wedding.
Soon after, Ken began a five-year search for property suitable for a youth camp.
Through a series of connections, he developed a friendship with John Bigelow.
By 1959, Johnny needed cash and sold 25 acres on Link Creek to the Oregon District Assemblies of God for the camp.
The following year, Bigelow contacted Ken when he was in a financial bind due to divorce.
Ken and Ruth decided this was a “chance in a lifetime to purchase a private piece of land on a unique lake.” To buy the property, Ken and Ruth traded out their two warehouse properties and basically hawked anything they could sell.
They signed acquisition papers on November 30, 1960.
This marked the day they became owners of beautiful property on Blue Lake, along with the two log cabins built by Johnny, two handcrafted tin boats, and a few campsites powered by electricity from a small dam.
And they were now deeply in debt.
Over the next 40 years, Ruth liked to say, “We shared our backyard.” They focused on developing a family-oriented resort targeting hardworking middle-class families. During those years, the kids of guests grew up and then brought their children to Blue Lake. When Ken and Ruth retired in 1996, they sold half their property to Dan Wieden. Dan converted the resort into Camp Caldera, a camp for underprivileged kids and artists-in-residence.
In 2015, Ruth published her autobiography, “Life, Love & the Pursuit of Dreams.” The copy donated to Deschutes Public Library is found by searching “Blue Lake Resort.” The library describes her biography as follows, “This story is of a successful Eugene, Oregon businessman who marries a shy farm girl from northern Idaho. In 1960, Ken, age 35, and Ruth, age 28, risked everything they had to purchase a fledgling resort and 203 acres in Central Oregon. Will they make it?”
During those years of hard work, Ruth wore many hats as an employer, businesswoman, chef, housekeeper, marketer, and more. On top of excelling in all these roles, her top prayer was to be an excellent wife and greatest mother possible. She succeeded! Her husband, Ken, loved her more each day until he passed away at the age of 70. Her four children all grew up to be her best friends. Her nine grandkids called her Grams, and every single one basked in her love and devotion to them. The littles (great-grandkids) called her Gigi and loved to run and hug her. Known for her kindness, love of life, and selfless giving, her legacy of love carries on into the next generations.
Mother to four, but “Mom” to many others, Ruth is survived by her children: Pamela and husband Peter, Gary and wife Paula, Carol and husband Kyle, Ann and husband Mike; grandchildren: Chadbourne, Shirree, Sierra, Rebeccah, Michelle, Chet, Rachel, Jeffrey, Danielle; 13 great-grandkids; and countless friends.
Ruth’s celebration of life will be a private affair for the family at Ruth’s request. She trusts that all who hold her dear will cherish the memories created during their times shared over the years.