Ruth J. Erickson, 94, Belmond, died Dec. 25, 2019 at Bell Haven Assisted Living in Belmond. Services were held Dec. 28 at St. Olaf Lutheran Church west of Belmond. Burial was in the Belmond Cemetery.
Ruth Jean, the daughter of Guy D. and Mildred (Zook) Baker, was born Dec. 26, 1924 at her parents' farm north of Belmond.
Ruth attended District #2 Belmond Township country school through the 8th grade. She graduated from Belmond High School in 1942 and continued her education at Mason City Junior College (NIACC) and Normal School teacher training at Iowa State Teachers College (UNI). Having a passion for education, Ruth went on to receive a BA in education at Drake University in 1963.
Ruth married Robert James Erickson on June 17, 1945 at her parents’ home. Their union was blessed with sons James and Jeffrey, and daughters Becky and Beth. She relished the role of motherhood and strived tirelessly to provide them a loving upbringing. She loved her partnership with Bob on the farm and all their life journeys. She enjoyed helping with farm tasks and working in the garden, raising produce and lovely flowers.
Ruth loved the outdoors, whether it was family fishing trips to Leech Lake, MN, an afternoon of mushroom hunting on the farm, strolling and listening to the sounds of the animals, or an evening with family and friends around a fire sharing stories and food. She enjoyed watching turkeys, deer and song birds at the home they built in The Grove south of Belmond. The family recalls evenings of fresh popcorn around the television, annual cookie bake-offs, and other occasions. Ruth and Bob shared the love of sports and attended many Twins games. At age 92 Ruth offered her advice to the team during an interview. She loved to support her kids and grandkids in all their activities. Ruth loved her pets, including her kitties Shieba and present sidekick Tigger, and in earlier times dogs Brownie and Rinny. Ruth loved music, especially the sounds of the 40’s and 50's, dancing the night away with Bob, as well as patriotic music and operetta.
She was a wonderful cook; there were always pleasant aromas in her kitchen. She looked forward to hosting family and friends, and they would not be allowed to go away hungry. Ruth was meticulous in all she did: maintaining her gardens, doing needlework and sewing, keeping a spotless home, and coordinating her wardrobe.
Ruth taught school initially at Sheffield, then spent the remainder of her nearly 35 years of teaching at Belmond. Though she retired from the profession, Ruth never retired from educating and self-learning. She taught her grandchildren and great-grandchildren many life skills. She taught Bible lessons for many years and was the church secretary for a time. Ruth gave her time, knowledge and energy to countless organizations, including the Belmond library, Belmond Hospital Auxiliary, WELCA at her church, the Prairie Homestead Farm, was a 4-H leader in Wright and Franklin Counties, and taught adult education classes (Little Red School House) for seven years. She kept her mind sharp reading poetry classics by Longfellow, Joyce Kilmer, Robert Frost and others. Ruth was active in Home Study Club and various state and local teacher organizations. She enjoyed her many different bridge groups. She loved anything that included time wither her family, an afternoon conversation with friends with coffee and home made sweets. She will be remembered her love of family, belief in life-long learning, focus on faith, straight forward philosophies, and her innate ability to absorb and enjoy the special moments of her life.
Her memory will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of son Jim ((Judy) Erickson of Waverly and their kids Jodi Dieken of Cedar Falls and Jeff (Carrie) Dieken and their children Jessica, Johnna, and Mattie Dieken of Cedar Falls, Dana (Chris) Pape of Sherrill's Ford, NC, and Brenda (Allen) Ernst and their children Allison, Alex, and Conrad all of Bellvue; son Jeffrey Erickson of Belmond and his son Josh (Chrizma) Erickson and their three kids J.C., Lief and Syhra of Brownsville, OR, and step-daughter Kimberly Erickson of Tekama, NE; daughter Becky (Allan) Menning of Hampton and their daughter Kacie (Brandon) Bonjour and family Camden and Griffin of Clive; and daughter Beth (Jeff) Jaacks of Hampton and their children Lindsey (Josh) Showalter and kids Tenley, Tate and Noah of Sheffield, and Jeremy Jaacks and his significant other Mary Jones of Johnston.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; husband Robert (2008); brothers and wives Donald and Leone, Duane and Betty, Dick and Elaine, and Harold and Lydia; brothers-in-law David Erickson, and Bernard and his wife Zada Erickson; and daughter-in-law Barbara Erickson.