Ruth Colleen Sales, 60

ALAMOSA — Ruth Colleen Sales was born on March 21, 1960, in Belle Fourche, SD, the third child of Donald and Teresa Sales.

Battling pancreatic cancer, she passed away on March 30, 2020, in Denver.

As her parents served in the ministry, Ruth had the privilege of living in different communities while growing up including Spearfish, Mitchell and Hurley, South Dakota, Waukon, Iowa, Okeene and Muskogee, Oklahoma and Craig and Lamar.

She graduated from Moffat County High School in 1978 in Craig. Ruth went on to earn degrees in theology and journalism from Union College in 1982, in Lincoln, NE.

She later earned a Master’s in guidance and counseling from Adams State College in 1992.

In 1983, after a brief stint in the Lampe and Branson, Missouri area, she moved to Alamosa, which became her life-long home until her death.

Ruth spent her 36-year journalism career in the San Luis Valley. She worked at the Del Norte Prospector in Del Norte from the spring of 1983-Dec. 1985, when she began working for the Valley Courier in Alamosa.

She served as a news reporter at the Courier, and was editor for about ten years, before her health forced an early retirement in the spring of 2019.

As part of her many roles, she wrote a weekly column: “Still Waters,” which covered local government, court cases and water issues -- among many other diverse topics.

Ruth enjoyed writing features about the Valley’s diverse and exceptional population. The wonderful people of the SLV became her extended family throughout her career.

Over the years she received numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association.

Upon her retirement, State Senator, Larry Crowder, requested Governor Polis declare Ruth Heide Day at the state capitol.

U.S. Congressman, Scott Tipton, read a tribute to Heide into the U.S. congressional record.

In Dec. 1985, Ruth married Carl Heide and was always proud to still count herself part of the Heide family -- even after the couple divorced in 1995.

Ruth is survived by: her father, Donald Sales of Pueblo; brother, Mark Sales of Pueblo; older sister, Beth (Kevin) Wilkins of Denver; younger sister, Kristi (Tom) Gardner of Littleton; and -- the most recent of the many furry friends who shared her life over the years -- Oso.

Her mother, Teresa Sales, preceded her in death in Aug. 2019.

Ruth had a lifelong love of animals and enjoyed the companionship of numerous canine friends through the years. She served for many years on SLV’s board of Animal Welfare Society.

Memorial gifts may be made to SLVAWS at 76 El Rio Drive, Alamosa, 81101.

Memorial contributions may also be made towards benches at the Blanca Vista Dog Park in Alamosa; where Ruth and Oso enjoyed visiting. Ruth’s sister, Kristi Gardner, is handling bench arrangements and memorial contributions at: 9483 Desert Willow Way, Littleton, 80129.

Ruth was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and served in various capacities at the church through the years, including: leading children’s and adult Sabbath Schools; telling children’s stories for church; playing the piano and sharing the worship message.

Although as a young person she felt called to the pastoral ministry and earned a theology degree, she believed that God could use people to serve him in whatever career they pursued.

Ruth hoped God was able to use her in His ministry through her career as a journalist. She believed she was where God wanted her to be and was grateful for opportunities to share His love with others.

In addition to animals, Ruth enjoyed collecting lighthouses -- as they symbolized the gift of light in a dark world.

She was also grateful to enjoy vacations with family to Disneyland, Disneyworld, Hawaii and other destinations. Proud of her Irish heritage on both sides, she and her younger sister enjoyed a memorable trip to Ireland in the spring of 2019.

She was also fond of chocolate, pecan pie, cheese enchiladas, raspberries, Christmas; the music of Christian singer/songwriter, Robin Mark, and the daily view of the mountains rising from the Valley floor.

Cremation was chosen, and a celebration of life service will be held in Alamosa. The date and time is to be determined and announced in the paper.