Ruth Veenstra, 1915 – 2017

Ruth Veenstra, 102, of Clinton, formerly of Jefferson. Services: Thursday, Nov. 30, at 1 pm at First United Methodist Church, Jefferson. Interment: Jefferson Municipal Cemetery. Visitation: Thursday after 11 am at the church. Memorials are suggested to First United Methodist Church, Jefferson. Snell-Zornig Funeral Home, Clinton, 563-242-0252. Ruth Veenstra, 102, of Clinton, formerly of Jefferson, passed away Saturday, November 25, 2017, surrounded by her family at the Alverno – Clinton.

Roberta Ruth Neidigh was born on May 3, 1915, in Shannon City, IA, the oldest child of William Harrison and Mary Jeannette (Williams) Neidigh. She graduated from Scranton High School in 1932. After graduation, she was the personal driver for Mrs. Daisy Dean of Jefferson, with whom she developed her love for traveling. Her travels with Mrs Dean took her all over the United States and Canada, and she considered herself fortunate to have visited so many places as a young woman, especially during the Depression.
She later met Ralph L. Veenstra at the dance hall in Bayard and they married on June 22, 1938, in Grand Junction. They had three children: John, Joyce, and James.

Ruth worked as a clerk and assistant manager at Woodruff’s Drug Store on Jefferson’s square for many years. She also helped as a bookkeeper for her husband’s custom butchering business in Jefferson. After their retirement they enjoyed taking trips with their travel trailer and spending winters in warmer climates. Ralph passed away on January 12, 1985.

After Ralph’s passing, Ruth continued her love of travel, visiting many amazing places including all over Europe. Her final overseas trip was to Ireland where she kissed the Blarney Stone right before her 90th birthday. She loved her annual after Christmas trips to Southern California where she spent New Year’s with her son John and took in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena; she made her final trip on her own at 92 years old. For a couple of years she served as a parade ambassador for floats, telling visitors how the floats were constructed and what flowers were used. She also enjoyed taking annual fall foliage trips throughout NE Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin with daughter Joyce.

Ruth loved to host family around the holidays and was known for her famous Easter bunny cake and delicious homemade sour cherry jam. During the Christmas and Halloween seasons you would find her wearing snazzy holiday sweaters and dangling earrings. She was always the last one to go to bed at family gatherings, fearing she would miss out on the action.

Ruth married Horace Hedges, her high school classmate, on July 2, 2008, and they built a new condo together at 93. They enjoyed their daily car rides, going out for meals, and companionship. They lived together until she moved to Prairie Hills in Clinton in July of 2013 when Horace moved to GCMC Long Term Care. She looked forward to her trips back to Jefferson to visit Horace, and receiving his phone calls every evening up until her last day on Earth. She enjoyed her time in Clinton and spending holidays with her son Jim and his family and attending her great-grandkids events. She was happy to celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends back in Jefferson in 2015, and was proud to be Prairie Hills’ first centenarian. She lived a full and independent life for 102 years until falling and fracturing her leg in June of 2017.

In addition to her husband Horace of Jefferson, she is survived by two children, Joyce (Bill) Evans of Urbandale and James (Sally) Veenstra of Clinton; her daughter-in-law Barbara Veenstra of Gallatin, TN; grandchildren Janis (Patrick) Murphy of Scottsdale, AZ, Bill Evans of Dallas, TX, Jody Veenstra Wilken of Coral Springs, FL, Jerri (Colonel (Ret.) Tom) Isom of Murfreesboro, TN, Ryan (Whitney) Veenstra of Clinton, and Kyle (Diana) Veenstra of Waukee; great-grandchildren Jonas Wilken, Nick Murphy, Audrey & Ruby Isom, Olivia & Jackson Veenstra, and Cullen & Piper Veenstra; step-grandchildren Bill (Ivonne) Makela and Teri Neblung; and step-great-grandchildren Ashlyn & Alan Gibson, Kacie Neblung, and Brayden Makela; her brother Leonard (Dorothy) Neidig of Red Wing, MN; and three nieces. In addition to her husband Ralph, she was preceded in death by her parents, brother James Neidigh on Aug. 24, 2005; and her son John Veenstra on Aug. 10, 2010.
Ruth’s family thanked Dr Jill Johnson and the caring staff of both Prairie Hills and the Alverno.
The family was assisted by Snell-Zornig Funeral Home of Clinton.

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