April 5, 1927 ~ October 8, 2021 (age 94)


Ruth Elizabeth Braunschweig, 94, passed away on Friday, October 8, 2021 at the Platte County Memorial Hospital in Wheatland, Wyoming. She was born on Tuesday, April 5, 1927 in Cheyenne, Wyoming as the only living child of Hugh and Rissa McDonald. The family agricultural operation that started in 1881 is one of Ruth’s greatest legacies and her perseverance in the cattle business was the focal point of her life.

After graduation from Chugwater High School in 1944, Ruth attended Grand Island Business College before returning to Cheyenne, Wyoming to work for the Civil Service at Fort Warren. She then continued on to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming where she graduated in 1950 with a bachelor’s of science degree in Agriculture. Ruth was married to John Braunschweig from Cheyenne, on October 14, 1949. They began their life together on the Whitcomb Ranch portion of the McDonald family holdings. At the time they had 30 cows and a few Arabian horses, and worked for Hugh and Rissa irrigating and haying the Whitcomb meadows.

To meet the need of having someone to steward the land purchased at the renowned Diamond Ranch, Ruth’s family moved to the LL Ranch in 1961. From there, the Braunschweig’s managed the cattle, irrigation, and haying at the Diamond Ranch. As the sole inheritor of the McDonald landholdings of nearly 75,000 acres, Ruth and John held a public auction to satisfy the IRS tax burden in 1967. The next business decision turned out to be quite the adventure when Ruth and John remodeled the buildings at the Diamond and evolved it into a guest ranch. Ruth’s hard-working nature and quiet resolve truly shone when the Diamond Guest Ranch became the nation’s first RKOA “Ranch Kampground”, where families could camp and enjoy the experience of ranch activities. Running this summer business from 1968 to 1980 was very different from the ranching lifestyle, but Ruth’s determination to continue the family legacy pushed the boundaries of her comfort zone. Ruth and John saved a few of their own cattle herd to build up again over the years, and in 1980 returned to a full-time ranching operation. Ruth enjoyed riding her four-wheeler through the cows each day, and was never seen without a set of fencing pliers or wire stretchers.

Ruth and John attempted to semi-retire from ranching and wintered in Sun City, Arizona from 1998 until 2005. They fully retired to Wheatland in 2008 but still held a stake in the cattle herd until 2019. The Braunschweig family was honored with the Platte County Agriculture Business of the Year award in 2020. This Wyoming-designated Centennial Ranch is continued on today through family operations of her daughters and grandchildren.

Ruth’s lifelong passion was showing and raising Arabian horses. She was also fascinated by history, which was exemplified when she started a diary record with daily entries in 1951- and amazingly continued it for the rest of her life. Almost 7 decades’ worth of Ruth’s daily journal provides a unique glimpse into the life of her beautiful Wyoming pioneer spirit, and reflects the adversity of her life as a ranching woman.

One of her hobbies was translating her written records to type, and you could frequently find Ruth sitting at her typewriter each morning to start her day!

Some of Ruth’s pastimes included tending to gorgeous rose bushes, appreciating the beauty of a sunrise, and feeding the neighborhood squirrels. Ruth’s visitors would often find her swinging on the bench under her tree, putting together a puzzle, or dropping a quarter in her player piano. She loved to cheer on the Denver Broncos, read Danielle Steele novels, and rewatch classic Western movies.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, Hugh McDonald and Rissa McCann McDonald; her quadruplet infant siblings; and husband, John Braunschweig on March 11, 2014.

Ruth is survived by her three daughters, Cindy (Ron) Schanaman, Lindy (Rodger) Schroeder, and Valorie (Michael) Heatherly, all of Chugwater, Wyoming; grandchildren, Jeri Currier, Sheri Riccardi, Donald Schanaman, Tricia Sagner, Holly Crowley, Amy Jo Hennig, and Eric Heatherly; and 13 great-grandchildren.

The family would like to give a special thank you to Debby Becker, Peggy Bise, Jodi Larsen, and Mindy Grider for their friendship and caregiving support. As well as the many friends who have contacted the family with their regards. Ruth will be remembered for her amazing and wonderful life filled with love, laughter, family, adventure, and many fond memories with each person’s soul she touched so dearly.

A funeral service will be held at 2:00 P.M. Friday, October 22, 2021 at South Lake near Chugwater. 

A celebration of life will be held at 4:00 P.M. Friday, October 22, 2021 at the Chugwater Community Center in Chugwater.

A memorial donation to the Platte County Public Library System, 904 Ninth Street, Wheatland, Wyoming 82201 or any charity of donor choice in honor of Ruth would be appreciated by the family.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of RUTH ELIZABETH (McDONALD) BRAUNSCHWEIG, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
October 22, 2021

2:00 PM
South Lake, Chugwater

Celebration of Life
October 22, 2021

4:00 PM
Chugwater Community Center (Chugwater)

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