Ruth Jeanette Grabill, 89, died Monday, Sept. 8, 2014, at Peggy Kelly House II in Topeka. Ruth found within herself three weapons that served her well in her long battle with Alzheimer’s disease: humor, grace and kisses, lots and lots of kisses.
Ruth was born May 5, 1925, in Newton. She was the first child of Ervin John Steiner and Geneva Dorthea Tangeman Steiner. When Ruth was born the family farmed north of Newton but moved to the Sedgwick community during the Depression. She attended three rural Harvey County elementary schools, Newton High School, and Kansas State University.
Ruth married Harold Eugene Grabill in Sedgwick on June 26, 1948. They raised two daughters on their family dairy farm north of Sedgwick. Ruth was a dutiful farm wife and a loving mother who supported all her girl’s 4-H, church and school activities without question. She taught Sunday school and was a 4-H sewing teacher. Ruth and Harold were active members of the Sedgwick Methodist Church until moving to Wichita in 1974. Ruth later joined Wichita’s West Heights United Methodist Church.
Ruth began her career working for the Director of Nursing at Wichita’s Wesley Hospital. She soon found her calling as a school secretary while working as secretary to the principal of Newton High School. After time away to raise a family, Ruth returned to work as secretary to the principal of Santa Fe Middle School in Newton. In 1974 Ruth and Harold left the farm and moved to Wichita where she worked at Friends University’s Friends Center on Family Living. She retired from Friends in 1990.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, Ervin and Neva, and her husband Harold who died in 1996.
Ruth leaves behind a sister, Beverly Olson of Salina; two daughters, Susan Beth Earick (John) of Wichita and Jolene Marie Grabill of Topeka; two granddaughters, Shelley (Phillip) Nelson of Newton, and Lesley (Jason) Johnson of Whidbey Island, Wash.; five great-grandchildren Rebekah Nelson, Sharon Nelson, Jenny Nelson, Alyssa Johnson and Collin Liedtke; one great-great-grandchild, Christopher Nelson; and Jolene’s beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frankie.
Funeral Services were Monday, Sept. 15. Burial in Sedgwick’s Hillside Cemetery will follow.
A Topeka celebration of Ruth’s life will be held Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at Kevin Brennan Family Funeral Home, 2801 SW Urish Road, Topeka, KS 66614.
Memorials contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association - South Central and Western Kansas Office, 1820 E. Douglas, Wichita, KS 67214, or Sedgwick United Methodist Church. Online condolences may be sent to www.kevinbrennanfamily.com.