Longtime Montana Employee Retires

January 25, 2014 | Kristi Rich

There is joy and there is sorrow, excitement and anticipation, yet dread and perhaps a bit of agony. It isn’t unusual for people to leave one workforce for another or even retire, but few leave who have left decades of positive impact upon the faculty and students of Mount Ellis Academy (MEA) in Bozeman and the employees of the Montana Conference.

Ruth Stanton, administrative assistant to the president, treasury and trust services, officially retired Jan. 1. While the Montana Conference rejoices with her as she enters her new mission field, her work, gentle spirit and personage will be deeply missed.

Right after graduating from La Sierra University in 1972, Stanton and her husband, Dave, came to work at MEA. They had sent their resumes to academies throughout the Northwest, and Mount Ellis was the only response they received. Stanton put her degree in consumer related sciences secondary education to good use as the home economics teacher, while Dave taught industrial arts.

Penny (Anderson) Roberts, class of 1975, was one of Stanton's students. “I was always amazed at how much knowledge she had as a home ec teacher,” she says. “I had a good background in sewing, but she taught me even more. I wish students today had someone like Ruth to teach those things. She has a real gift.” During this time Stanton also taught freshman English for several years.

Beginning in 1979, Stanton took several years off from teaching to be a full-time mom to their son, Jeff, returning to MEA in the fall of 1985. In addition to home economics, Stanton taught U.S. and world history, freshman Bible and current world affairs — and also worked for a time as administrative assistant to Karen (Ballard) Johnson, MEA principal.

Recently Johnson commented that Stanton was one of the most dependable people ever and that she was a delight to work with. “Every day she had a smile on her face even when it meant hand-addressing all the envelopes for a donation appeal,” Johnson says. During her years at MEA, Stanton crossed paths with more than 1,000 students and faculty.

Deciding to head for warmer weather, the Stantons left for Hawaii in the summer of 1994. Stanton worked for Konawaena High School as a home economics teacher, and her husband taught auto mechanics.

Homesick for Montana and MEA, the family returned a year later. At that time the part-time secretary position to the conference president was available, and Stanton was given the job. The position quickly grew to full-time work.

At Stanton’s recent retirement party, it was discovered that during her 18 years at the Montana Conference office she worked in three different buildings with three presidents, five treasurers, five accountants, three education superintendents, three education secretaries, three trust services directors and more than 50 pastors.

After retirement, Stanton says she is looking forward to not driving the 30 miles to and from work each day. Her first project will be refinishing her kitchen cabinets. Then she plans to travel, visit national parks, and do needlework and crafts — all the things she hasn’t had time to do in the past 30 years.

Stanton has been a good and faithful servant, and the Montana Conference staff hope she enjoys her retirement.