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Ruth Eleanor Menke
Ruth Eleanor Menke was born on September 25, 1922, in Stephenson County, Illinois, on the Markel farmstead. She passed away on to her next adventure September 20, 2020, during her morning nap, 5 days shy of her 98 birthday. Her mother was Vera Blattau and her Father was Earl Markel.
She was preceded in death by an infant daughter Geneva (1917), her mother Vera (2/3/1894 to 6/22/1938), her father Earl (3/1/1888 to 12/11/1969) her younger brother Kenneth (9/15/1931 to 4/4/1982) and her husband of 50 years Clifford Menke (6/30/20 to 3/3/1997).
Ruth is survived by her three children Dennis Menke (Ann) Yankton, Colleen Tommeraason (Chuck) Sioux Falls and Linda Schramm (Rick) Reno Nevada, three grandchildren, Sarah Tharp, Abby Menke and Heath Becker, and seven great children.
The Markel family moved from the farm to Freeport Ill. In 1934, five years later, Ruth's mother passed on. Ruth was adventurous and with her mother gone she yearned to see the country. When she graduated from Middle School she moved to Kalispell Montana to live with her Aunt Irene (Markel) Hoffman and uncle Clem. She worked in their Hotel and attended and Graduated from High School and had a wonderful time with the Montana boys and girls.
The summer she graduated (1942) she was ready for her next adventure and she moved to Portland Oregon and learned to weld for the WW 2 war effort, later she moved to Vancouver Washington to pursue better wages and more skills. She was a talented welder and a craftsperson all her life.
One year later in the early spring of 1943 she moved down the coast to San Diego to live with her friend Betty from Kalispell. They had fun with all the sailors and young people living there for the war effort. Ruth’s friend Betty contracted Diphtheria and passed away in May. Ruth needed a change after losing her friend and she made the big leap to move across the continent to the city of Boston in June of 1943. There she worked in a rope factory doing welding on the rope fittings for the large Navy ships.
In the fall of 1943 she was contacted by her girlfriend Irene Gerde from Montana who was now living in Los Angeles. Ruth moved back to the nice weather of California to again work in the war effort that was raging in the Pacific theater.
The next spring (1944) the girls moved to Long Beach just north of L.A. to be by the ocean. Roller skating was a very big activity in the Nineteen Forties and Ruth found a skating partner in a young Navy fellow from Nebraska.
Clifford Menke and Ruth skated together for the rest of their lives, they were married March 10, 1946 In Long Beach California by her Uncle Clem Hoffman.
Clifford missed the Missouri valley and wanted to move to Yankton SD. Ruth had never lived there so she was up for it, and the Yankton area had a great many skating venues.
Their lives in Yankton were productive and happy. Clifford and Ruth both enjoyed people and being productive, Clifford bought the Boston Shoe to Boots and Ruth opened her own business, the Dakota Craft and Hobby Shop.
Clifford had as much wonder lust as Ruth had and they began traveling as soon as their little tribe of children were out of diapers. Cliff and Ruth traveled as a couple all over the globe, the only continent that they didn’t visit was Antarctica. Their favorite places to stay were the west coast of Mexico in the winter and the west coast of Canada in the summer; they loved the Pacific Ocean and the wonderful sunsets. Ruth and Clifford celebrated their 50 wedding anniversary in March of 1996, Clifford passed away in the spring of 1997. Ruth continued to travel for the next 16 Years with her good friend Jennette Schramm, they went Globetrotting with Ruth’s favorite trip being going to the Arctic Circle in Norway on the longest day of the year and watching the sun “Roll the Horizon.”
Ruth spent her “Rusty Years” as she affectionately called her 90’s living in her home in Yankton. She has had many friends and has had to say “Bon Voyage” to all of them; it is the curse of good health that all others of your generation will go before you. She will surely get the biggest and most wonderful arrival party of anyone when she passes through those Pearly Gates.
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