Salt River Memories by Ruth Chough

“I always think about my church; The Heavenly Father is who I depend on. He’s the one who guides me in everything that I do because I can’t do it alone.” - Ruth Chough

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Ruth Chough with daughter Karilyn Smith and son-in-law Roger R. Smith Jr.

By Marissa Johnson
O’odham Action News
marissa.johnson2@srpmic-nsn.gov

Ruth J. (Enos) Chough was born on June 6, 1930, in Sacaton, Arizona. She is the daughter of Susie Enos and Juan Enos. She is the youngest sibling of the late Theodore Enos and late Blanche Enos. 

Chough grew up on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. As a child, she recalled that she carried the water to her adobe home. After returning home from Salt River Day School, she had chores like cleaning and feeding the chickens, feeding the horses and cleaning the yard. Her father farmed cotton, alfalfa and wheat, and her mother was a homemaker. 

Hollis and Ruth Chough.

On August 28, 1954 she married Hollis M. Chough, and they lived in Chicago for six years in the 1950s for her husband’s work opportunity relocation. During her time in Chicago, Chough worked as a Laboratory Assistant at the University of Chicago and also worked as an Appliance Inventory Manager and the Department of Internal Revenue, at night in Chicago, Illinois. She had one child, Karilyn D. Smith and one son-in-law Roger R. Smith, Jr. Ruth and Hollis were married 50 years with numerous grandchildren from extended family. 

After moving back to the Valley, Chough attended Teacher’s Aide training at Arizona State University. She worked at Mesa Public Schools as a Teacher’s Aide, so she could go to school with her daughter. Chough recalled teaching kindergarten was her favorite grade. “I enjoyed watching them be themselves, saying words and learning to read,” she said. She later switched to the Mesa Public Schools Health Program, traveling with the team to schools to do health screenings for the students. She then worked as a Nurse Assistant. Chough worked at Mesa Public Schools for a total of 25 years. 

The first education she had was at church, and she said she appreciates her mom taking her to church. “… [I]t was a treat because I got to see other kids,” Chough said. “In those days we lived far apart, so we didn’t get to see each other very often except for church. I always think about my church; Heavenly Father is who I depend on. He’s the one who guides me in everything that I do because I can’t do it alone.” 

Chough served as a member of the SRPMIC Tribal Council from 1986-1994. Back when memorial services took place at the Community Building, Chough brought it to the attention of Council that the Community’s memorial services should have a dedicated location, which laid the foundation for the Memorial Hall to be built. 

Chough also has volunteered and served on a lot of committees in her lifetime. Groups and organizations she has served with including the Memorial Hall Committee (chairwoman), the North American Indian Women’s Association, a lifelong member of the Salt River United Presbyterian Church (elder and deacon), Sunday School director and teacher, choir member, Save the Children Foundation, Deputy Registrar (to encourage our right to vote), SRPMIC Education Committee, SRPMIC Education Board and SRPMIC Council member. In 1984 Chough was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, representing the Honda District, Arizona.

After retiring, Chough began taking better care of herself and her health. In her free time, she enjoys: crochet, embroidery, knitting, gardening, traveling, women’s basketball and listening to gospel music. She recently celebrated her 90th birthday; her loved ones gave her a surprise birthday parade. 

She said she can’t wait for the quarantine to end so she can leave the house to see everyone again. Ruth appreciates the love and support of her family and friends throughout her lifetime.


Thank You for Celebrating Ruth Chough’s 90th Birthday!

Thank you from the Chough, Smith and Enos families to family, friends and associates who participated in the “Drive By, Honk and Wave Parade” to celebrate Ruth Chough’s 90th birthday. This made it such a special day for Ruth and her family.

Thank you to:
Wendy Wagner, for sparking the idea for the parade; Shea Enos, for decorating and driving his semi-truck in the parade; Martin and Toni Harvier, for singing “Happy Birthday” from their car; Ivan Makil, for playing “Happy Birthday” on his trumpet from his car; Ricardo Leonard, for singing “Happy Birthday” in O’odham over the phone; and Diane Enos, Terry Enos, Lancy Grey, and the Salt River Police Department.