Ruth Kleinendorst, age 91, passed away in Burien, Washington on August 2, 2020. Ruth was born on August 17, 1928 on the family farm near Firth, Nebraska to John and Jennie (Fischer) Kroese. Ruth grew up in rural Nebraska, along with her six brothers and two sisters, and attended a one room country school. She loved sports and was an excellent athlete. Ruth loved to play softball with her brothers and watched all of their games from the bench, hoping that one day she would get a chance to play. Finally, during a game when the team was short a player, she got to play shortstop and hit a bases-loaded homerun that won the game. From then on, she was welcome to play with the boys any time. Ruth also enjoyed playing on the high school girls’ volleyball team.
After graduating high school Ruth attended Peru State Teacher’s college and then taught in a small country school. During this time, Ruth heard about an army officer by the name of Rich Kleinendorst who was staying with an uncle in her community. Rich attended her church and she admired how handsome he was in his uniform. Their romance began when they were introduced to each other at a church New Year’s Eve party. Ruth and Rich (Dick) were married on June 16, 1950 at the Pella Reformed Church in Adams, Nebraska. When Dick was called back into the service for the Korean Conflict, Ruth followed him to Pismo Beach. When Dick was deployed to Korea, Ruth returned to Nebraska where she worked for Cushman Motors in Lincoln.
After Dick returned from Korea, they returned to farm life in the rural community where they met. They welcomed the births of their daughters Kathryn Kay and Janet Ruth. After many letters and calls from Dick’s aunts Hendrika and Cornelia Kleinendorst, Dick and Ruth agreed to move to the Kleinendorst family farm near Prairie City, Iowa in March of 1961. Life on the farm meant many days of hard work growing crops and raising livestock, but also many wonderful family times. Ruth demonstrated her amazing green thumb with three vegetable gardens and spent many hot summer days canning and freezing her vegetables for the winter months. Her six-foot tall tomato plants yielded so many she sold them by the bushel to the Prairie City School for hot lunches. Dick and Ruth both loved sports and were especially passionate about the Nebraska Cornhuskers. There were many Saturdays when the family huddled next to the radio listening to a Nebraska game.
Ruth returned to work at Central College for a couple of years, but found her true work home at the State of Iowa. She began her tenure in the Motor Vehicle Licensing department where she soon earned a reputation for thorough and complete work. Insurance agents and others needing information would wait for her specifically because they knew she would give them complete information. Soon she was promoted to secretary/receptionist for the Iowa State Patrol where she worked for more than 20 years before retiring in 1994.
Dick passed away suddenly in 1984 which was devastating for Ruth. However, she continued to work, and made many wonderful friends. She became an avid golfer, joined a bowling league and also joined the Greater Des Moines Volkssport Association. Ruth made several trips with her Volkssport friends, with several trips to Europe, and an excursion on the Oregon Trail her favorites. She also enjoyed
traveling to visit her daughters and grandchildren. Ruth’s love of sports continued and she inspired friends to follow the Cornhuskers along with her and wear red on game day. Ruth had season tickets for University of Iowa football games for many years. She also became a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs and when she turned 80 the entire family joined her in Chicago for a Cubs game.
Ruth had a full and happy life, filled with much hard work, but also much love from her husband, daughters, grandchildren, and many friends. Ruth loved life and having fun with her friends and family. She also had a deep and profound faith which guided her throughout her life.
Ruth is survived by daughters Kathryn (Robert) Kelly of Seattle, Washington, and Janet (Joel) Grimm of Rockville, Maryland, grandchildren James and Robert (Kathy) Kelly, Alexandra, Isabel and Emma Grimm, and great-grandchildren Miles and Josie Kelly. Surviving siblings are Jeanette (Gary) Kroese Thomson of Montreal, Canada, and Owen (Juanita) Kroese of Illinois.
She was predeceased by her husband, Henry R. Kleinendorst , and siblings Henry, Dean, John, Garret, Glen Kroese, and Ruby Stambaugh.
A graveside service will be held at the Pella Reformed Church, Adams, Nebraska at 10:00 AM on August 10, 2020.
Family visitation is from 2:00 to 4:00 PM on August 9, at the Butherus-Maser and Love Funeral home, Hickman Nebraska.
A memorial service is planned for 2021 at the First Reformed Church, Prairie City, Iowa.
Memorials may be designated in her name to the First Reformed Church of Prairie City, Iowa.
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