Gwendolyn Ruth Ford Symons

Gwendolyn Ruth Ford Symons passed away quietly Wednesday afternoon, at home surrounded by her family as husband of 44 years. Gwendolyn Ruth Ford Symons was born Novemer 9, 1942 in Powell, Wyoming, second of two children born to Carl Smith and Mildred Wanda Smith Ford.
Mrs. Symons started school in Powell. The family relocated to central Wyoming where she completed her school career graduating Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyoming with honors in 1961,
Gwen worked with her parents in landscape service until she was 17 years old when she began work as PBX operator for the Casper Commissary, Inc. in Casper.
In 1961, she enrolled at Casper College on a Rotary Club academic scholarship and began work as “Girl Friday” at a radio/tv shop. She then worked at a telephone answering service.
She was married in 1962. This marriage ended in divorce.
She moved to Billings, Montana where she was employed at ABC Builders. She went to Soda Springs, Idaho and to Lava Hot Springs, where she made her home.
In April, 1967, Gwen married her love, Lava native, George “Terrel” Symons . Together they reared three of their four children, the youngest dying in childhood.
Gwen wrote a column for the Bannock County News of McCammon, Idaho where she authored and copyrighted an historical account of the Village of Lava Hot Springs in 1969. She also worked as custodian for the Lava Hot Springs Foundation. She was teachers’ aide at Lava Elementary School for two terms and helped take the U.S. Census in 1980 and pre-list again in 1988. She worked briefly at Hot Springs Village, the old Silver Grill Cafe, Valley View Rest Home, the old Chuck Wagon Cafe and J & E Enterprises in Lava.
The death of their youngest child resulted in a column for Rocky Mountain Candle Lighters’ Newsletter of Salt Lake City, Utah which she wrote every month for seven years. She then wrote her own weekly newsletter, “On the Lava Side,” around 1992/93.
In 1995, she began working at the South Bannock County Historical Museum greeting guests, helping construct historical displays and researching and writing historical tracts. Five years later, ill health forced her retirement.
In 2008, she was diagnosed with stage II cancer. At the Cancer Center in Pocatello she found another world of new friends.
She continued writing for the museum periodically until she was no longer able to do so.
She enjoyed gardening, reading, writing, her family and friends and genealogy. She had sewn much of her own and her children’s clothing as her family grew up.
She was preceded by her grandparents, one sister, Myrel Lucile Ford, her father, her daughter, Mariann Ford Symons, her mother, and her daughter-in-law, RonaLee Breckenridge Symons.
She is survived by her husband, George, of Lava Hot Springs, one daughter, April (Mike) Hansen of Grace, Idaho, sons Gregory of Pocatello and George T. of Lava Hot Springs, grandsons Austin Hobson of Lava Hot Springs, and Karson Hansen of Grace, Idaho, granddaughter Stacie (Trent) Evans and two great-grandsons, Weslee and Marcus Evans of Arimo, Idaho.
Funeral Services will be held on Monday, August 1, 2011 at 12:00 noon in the Lava Hot Springs LDS Ward Chapel. Friends may visit with the Symons family on Sunday evening from 7:00-8:00p.m. at the Church and again from 10:30-11:30a.m. on Monday at the church prior to the service. Burial will follow in the Lava Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the care and direction of Horsley’s Marsh Valley Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent to
Gwen wished to express special thanks to the physicians and staff of the Cancer Center in Pocatello, and to her wonderful, loving family for all of their kind care during her final brief illness.