Cover photo for Ruth E. Simmons's Obituary
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1927 Ruth 2017

Ruth E. Simmons

August 1, 1927 — December 3, 2017

Ruth Eleanor (Olson) Simmons, 90, died Sunday, December 3 of natural causes at Edgewood Vista Assisted Living in Virginia MN. Ruth was born August 1, 1927 in Mayville ND. She was raised on her parent’s family farm five miles west of Blanchard ND where among the usual tasks she helped cook for and serve threshing crews. She attended a one room country school ultimately graduating from Mayville State Teachers College with a degree in Social Studies and Music. It was there she met her husband Robert Simmons as he completed his music degree. After their marriage in August 1950 in Galesburg ND, Bob and Ruth began their careers and married life as elementary and high school music teachers in Sherwood ND. They taught in Galesburg ND, Mobridge SD, Fisher MN, East Grand Forks MN, Grand Forks ND, Ely MN, and finally Biwabik MN. Along the way Ruth and Robert raised four children, Paul, Cathryn, David and John. Ruth was very active in the Lutheran (ELCA) church, especially the WELCA (Women of the ELCA). But most of all she loved music, especially church and band. She taught piano and was her husband’s accompanist as he soloed. All her children had to at least try to take piano lessons or a musical instrument in high school. She was always ready to attend a concert as put on by local musicians. Ruth was an excellent cook, finding great joy in preparing family feasts for the holidays. No one ever went away hungry. She loved all the birds she fed (but not the squirrels) in her backyard in rural Gilbert MN. As much as she didn’t sit down for very long, she was always willing to sit and visit over a cup of coffee. She will be remembered by her nieces and nephews as an aunt who always took interest in their lives and their progress in the world, including spouses and children. She kept track of everyone. She was especially struck when her nephew and godson, Robert Rasmussen, was killed in the Twin Tower attack of September 2001. She doted on her six grandchildren, always wanting to know where they were and what they were doing. She loved them deeply. She loved her whole family deeply and well. She was a gift to many, many people. Ruth is survived by her children: Paul (Sally) in Ashland WI; Cathryn in Minnetonka; David (Sandy) in Menahga MN and John (Jacki) in Poplar MN. She is survived by six grandchildren: Nathan and Bryan Simmons, Morgan Simmons, Patrick Simmons and Anna and Evan Simmons. She is survived by her brother J. Donovan Olson (Barbara) in Moorhead MN and two sisters, Esther Bring Jondahl in Mayville ND and Elizabeth Protextor (Jerry) in Fargo ND. Ruth is survived by many, many wonderful nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Robert; her parents Elvin and Olga Olson; a brother Donald; a nephew Robert Rasmussen and brother-in-law Curtis Simmons. Funeral service 10:30am Saturday Dec.9, 2017 at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Virginia. Visitation will be Friday Dec. 8 from 5-7pm with a 6:30pm prayer service at Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Gilbert. Visitation will continue for one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday. Interment will be at a later date in Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN.
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