Ruth Caroline Burkholder, 97
Ruth Caroline (Lovett) Burkholder, 97, long time resident of Hudson, died on Jan. 18, at Pine Ridge Assisted Living.
Ruth was a real "Yankee Doodle Dandy", born in Hudson, on the 4th of July, 1916, to Ruth (Warner) Lovett and Charles "Carl" H. Lovett. Her older brother, Herbert R., was born in 1914. At the early age of 15, Ruth graduated with honors from Hudson High School in the Class of 1932. In the years following high school graduation, Ruth completed a business course at the Rasmussen Business College in St. Paul, attended River Falls Teachers College (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), and worked as a secretary for the Kindy Optical Company in St. Paul. In 1936 she entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in biology.
On June 15, 1940, Ruth married her high school sweetheart, John Curtis Burkholder, at the First Presbyterian Church in Hudson. Ruth and Curtis were blessed with a happy marriage for fifty-eight years. They had four children; John Charles, David Keith (d. 1946), Barbara Ruth and Mary Beth. They resided in Hudson during most of the years in which they were raising their children. During their life together, Ruth and Curtis had homes in Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin, and following Curtis's retirement in 1973 moved back to Georgia and enjoyed the last years of their married life in the small town of Clayton in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Following Curtis's death in 1998, Ruth resided in Ohio for a short time but then returned to her beloved hometown of Hudson for the last thirteen years of her life.
Besides being a loving wife to Curtis and mother to her children, Ruth was a devoted and loving grandmother to her three grandsons, Matthew, Aaron and Adam. She spent as much time with them as possible and helped instill in them a love of learning, music and nature. She had much joy and pride in all of their activities and accomplishments as they grew up.
One of Ruth's favorite quotes was, "Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth." Throughout her entire life she was a tireless volunteer and gave of her time, talents and energy to countless community and church organizations wherever she lived. In Hudson, the First Presbyterian Church, Girl Scout program, The St. Croix County Historical Society, Hudson Women's Club and the local chapter of P.E.O. were all organizations in which she was active. In 1967, she was awarded Girl Scouting's highest honor for adults, the Thanks Badge, and in 1968 was the first recipient of the Ernest Wright Citizenship Award presented by the Hudson High School Student Council. During the twenty-five years that Ruth lived in Clayton, she was active in the Clayton Music and Literary Club, the local Headstart program, the Homemakers Club, the Georgia Botanical Society and the Clayton Methodist Church. She was given both the Citizen of the Year Award and Woman of the Year Award by the church. While in Clayton she and Curtis hosted two foreign exchange students who attended the local high school. In regard to her community service, Curtis once commented, "She seldom refused a job when asked if it gave her the opportunity to be of service to her church or community."
Her love of nature was a life-long passion, and one of her greatest joys in life was hiking in the woods and mountains, discovering wildflowers and marveling at the beauty of the world. Ruth was also a devout lover of animals and was instrumental in starting a humane society in Rabun County, Georgia, serving as its secretary for twenty years.
Ruth and Curtis loved to travel, taking their children on many wonderful trips. In their retirement years they continued traveling in the United States and abroad and did volunteer work in Quito, Ecuador and Sitka, Alaska. Traveling as often as possible to be with their children and grandchildren was of utmost importance.
Anyone who knew Ruth was aware of her great love of music. She started piano lessons at age six and played piano for the rest of her life, also playing clarinet and saxophone during her school years. She served as pianist and organist for countless school, church and community events and organizations. During her final years in Hudson, she continued to entertain many with her piano skills at Wintergreen, the Senior Center and at Christian Community Home even when the inevitable problems of aging made playing more difficult. She absolutely loved sitting at the piano playing for a sing-along.
Ruth was well known for her hospitality and love of entertaining. She took great pleasure in gathering friends and/or relatives together for holidays, dinners, birthdays, tea parties, themed parties, picnics and musical events putting much time and energy into making every event special.
Above all, Ruth will be remembered for her constant and life long consideration of others, always remembering those in need, visiting the shut-ins and taking food to the ill or those who were grieving. She never failed to be mindful of helping others.
In one of her journals Ruth wrote, "Oh, how I love life!" How very true this was! We remember today that she died but we will remember forever that she lived.
She is survived by son John C. Burkholder (Nancy Krohn); daughters, Barbara R. Burkholder and Mary Beth Burkholder (Gary Zaremsky); grandsons, Matthew Zaremsky (Samantha Ley), Aaron Zaremsky and Adam Zaremsky; niece, Jean E. Lovett (Diane Dobitz) and Sharon Jacobs (John Jacobs); nephews, Gary Burkholder and Bruce Armstrong (Nancy Armstrong).
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, Ruth and Carl Lovett; her husband, J. Curtis Burkholder; son, David K. Burkholder; and brother, Herbert Lovett.
A celebration of Ruth's life will be held in June.
The family wishes to thank the staff of Hudson Hospital, Adoray Hospice Care, O'Connell Family Funeral Home, and Pine Ridge for their compassionate care.
Memorials may be sent to: St. Croix Animal Friends, P.O. Box 1169, Hudson, Wis., 54016, or to The Carter Center, One Copenhill, 453 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta, Ga., 30307, www.cartercenter.org