Ruth Ella Rook Neilson

May 4, 1923 – Sept. 15, 2021

Ruth Ella Rook Neilson died in St. George, Utah, on Sept. 15, 2021. Born on May 4, 1923, in Salt Lake City, Utah, she was the first of five children born to William Roberts Rook and Dorlesca Mae Maxfield.

Ruth married Jay Peter Neilson in March 1941. They moved to St. George in 1947, with their three daughters, Judith Mae Hesser, Shirley Rae Cannon and Sharleen Ruth Baker, and it is there they raised their family residing in the same home the remainder of their lives.

She was a resilient woman who worked in the arms plants to help the war effort during WWII and as a long-distance telephone operator for Bell Telephone in Salt Lake City. Later in life she worked at Quality Bakery and Market Basket Bakery in St. George, Utah.

She is survived by her three daughters: Judith Hesser (Michael), Shirley Cannon (Robert) and Sharleen Baker (Merlin, now deceased); her sister, Edith Marie Atwood; and her sisters-in-law: Shirley Rook, Gaydria Russell and Linda Wilkerson. She also leaves behind eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Ruth could change a tire in a dress and high heels in about 15 minutes, but she was also an experienced horseback rider and could shoot a gun as well as any man. Ruth taught her children the importance of working without complaining, and to draw from their strengths and beliefs to survive any situation. She also taught them the fun in picnics and the thrill of Christmas shopping.

She was a woman who was able adapt to any situation, was not easily influenced, and fought her way through the most difficult of times. She sacrificed her needs for the care and protection of her children, who were always foremost in her mind and her heart. She was our treasure, and we will miss her.

Graveside services will be held Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, at noon at the St. George City Cemetery, 600 East Tabernacle Street, St. George, Utah.

The family would like to give a special thanks to Autumn Park Assisted Living.

Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221. Please visit our website at for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.

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