Cover photo for Ruth J. Willets's Obituary
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1921 Ruth 2015

Ruth J. Willets

September 8, 1921 — April 4, 2015

Ruth J. Willets, age 93 of Elwood, passed away Saturday, April 4, 2015 at Kearney Nebraska. Ruth was born September 8, 1921 in Gosper County, Nebraska, the fifth of seven children of James Arthur “Ray” and Flossie May (Searle) Kirwan. At the age of 13 she accepted Christ as her savior and was baptized in Elwood. She attended grade school South West of Elwood and graduated from Elwood High School in 1939 with a Normal Training degree. She taught at District 13 (Steinbrink School) south of Elwood, Antelope School Southeast of Johnson Lake, Brace precinct school Southwest of Johnson Lake and Loomis Public School. She met her husband in 1942 when she was boarding with the Bossung family near Antelope School. They were married on Sunday July 2, 1944 at her mother’s home in Elwood. She moved to Tennessee while Keith was stationed at Camp Campbell, Kentucky. She returned to Elwood when he shipped out to Europe to serve in the Army. (She often joked that he went to Europe for the honeymoon and she came to Nebraska to teach). After Keith’s return from WWII they made their home in Loomis where she continued to teach and they started their family with daughter’s Sandra and Patricia. They then moved to Lexington and added John to the family. In the spring of 1952 they moved to the Willets farm south west of Johnson Lake on Plum Creek. They added Kenneth and William to the family and lived on the farm until 1985 when they moved into Elwood. After moving to the farm Ruth was a homemaker and worked as a waitress at Sportsman’s Paradise at Johnson Lake and the Green Lantern Café in Elwood. In the late 60’s she began working at Clark’s Store in Elwood and remained there until her retirement 22 years later. She was a member of H.O.A (Help One Another) and Home Builders extension clubs in Northern Gosper County and the North Side Birthday Club in Elwood and a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She was an accomplished seamstress and greatly enjoyed crocheting, cooking and baking breads, cakes and pies for her family. She also enjoyed canning the homegrown garden items Keith loved to grow, especially pickles. After moving to Elwood she became involved with the Elwood Senior Center and spent countless hours quilting with her friends there. She also made numerous quilts at home for her children and grandchildren. Ruth was preceded in death by her father Ray and brother, Edward “Buddy” in the 1935 Republican River flood, her mother who was a few months shy of 100 at her passing. Memorials are suggested to the Elwood Senior Center or donor's choice. She was also preceded by her, sisters Raymona and husband Elmer Houser, Elizabeth and husband Earl Ellsworth, Donna Kirwan, brother Milo “Mike” and Dee Kirwan and grandchildren Sherry and Edward Willets. She is survived by her husband Keith, children Sandra and husband David Nienkamp, Patricia Luck, John and Connie Willets, Kenneth Willets and William Willets as well as 8 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and 1 great-great grandchild. Services will be held at Parkview Baptist Church in Lexington, Nebraska at 2:00 pm Saturday, April 11, 2015 with Pastor John Shields officiating. Interment will be at the Elwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday, April 10, 2015 from 4 to 8 pm at Berryman Funeral Home in Cozad, and on Saturday from noon until service time at the church. Berryman Funeral Home in Cozad is in charge of arrangements.
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