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Ruth Strong

08/15/1928 - 03/18/2021

Ruth Gunnell Strong passed away on March 15, 2021, in Mesa, Arizona. Ruth was born in Howell, Utah on August 15, 1928, to Charles and Myrtle Gunnell. She married Raymond Dean Strong, a USAF Fighter Pilot, on April 19, 1949, in Mesa. Raymond preceded her in death two years ago.

Ruth and Ray have four children:  Patricia Wilder, married to Tom Wilder, of Woodstock, Georgia; Michael, married to Katherine Clawson, of Mesa; Gregory, married to Ilene Calder, of Eagle Mountain, Utah; and, Karen Udall, married to Collin Udall, of Mesa. They have 19 grandchildren, 70 great grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren.

Both Ruth and Raymond are remembered as strong and faithful to the Lord, Jesus Christ, exemplified by their kindness and compassion to all. Ruth was a committed wife, mother, and grandmother welcoming family and friends to her home filled with warmth, good conversation, and plenty of good food and treats, mostly chocolate.

She made sure their home was appropriately decorated for the current season and holiday. Ruth was proper and well-mannered and taught her children how to act and behave according to the social circumstances they were in. She loved having family over for Sunday visits.

They served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Paris, Tennessee. And, served in the Mesa Temple for many, many years. She was very active in church callings and functions.

Ruth had a unique gift for playing the piano. Never taking many lessons, she was quietly accomplished and could play anything. Her fondest memories were accompanying the “Gunnell Brothers” (her brothers) at various events and gatherings.

She leaves a legacy of all things good.

Click the link below to join the funeral broadcast Wednesday, March 31, at 11:00 p.m. MST.


Passcode: 169297

If you are unable to make the broadcast a recording will be made available within a few hours at the following link:



  • Stephen and Carolei Phelps

    Ruth and Ray were members of the Mesa 10th Ward when I was young. I remember her accompanying her brothers, Carl, Darwin, Grant and (name escapes me – Henrietta’s husband) on many occasions. She was a refined, gentle person. I will always be grateful for her kind example.

  • Donna S Millett

    I would like to add my condolences to all the Strong and Udall families. Don and I worked in the Mesa Temple several years with Ray Strong and he was always so friendly to us. My husband, Donald Glen Millett passed away in 2018 and he knew Ray and Ruth very well and the Gunnell family. In fact we share grandchildren with them, Craig Udall and Melissa Freeman Udall’s, sweet children. I am very happy that she could pass away and be with her husband again.

  • Galene Randall

    Aunt Ruth let me play with her paper dolls in Howell, Utah when we visited during the summer. She play “Playmates” on the piano so Kent and I could sing. I was 10 when the family moved to Mesa. Ruth is 4 years and 9 months older than me.

  • I love the fact that early on in our married life Bruce And I lived in the same ward with Ruth and Ray. Bruce was called to be his executive secretary and loved serving with him in the Bishopbric.
    And I loved being karen’s Laurel advisor. Great memories great people! Love them then love them still.

  • David & Louise Udall

    They say the fruit doesn’t fall very far from the tree. The proof of your mother’s excellence lies in the excellence of you four kids. Karen marries Collin and we share great Udall relatives. Eileen marries Greg and we remember the great times she grew up in our neighborhood. Pat was so eloquent and effective as we occasionally tangled on the Mesa city Council and she as my representative in the state house. We are so proud of you all! Our condolences, Dave and Louise Udall

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