Ruth Veenstra-Hedges, 102, of Clinton, formerly of Jefferson, passed away Saturday, November 25, 2017, surrounded by her family at the Alverno in Clinton.
Funeral services were held at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, November 30, 2017, at First United Methodist Church in Jefferson, Iowa. Burial was in the Jefferson Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers were Bill Evans, Ryan and Kyle Veenstra, Jonas Wilken, Tom Isom, Jim Unger, Larry Jackson and Richard “Dugan” McQuillen.
Roberta Ruth Neidigh was born May 3, 1915, in Shannon City, Iowa, 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, where 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 would later meet Ralph L. Veenstra at the dance hall in Bayard and they would marry on June 22, 1938, in Grand Junction, Iowa. 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 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 would spend the New Years with her son, John and take in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. She made her final trip on her own at age 92. 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 would live 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, Iowa and James (Sally) Veenstra of Clinton, Iowa; daughter-in-law: Barbara Veenstra of Gallatin, Tenn.; six grandchildren: Janis (Patrick) Murphy of Scottsdale, Ariz., Bill Evans of Dallas, Texas, Jody Veenstra Wilken of Coral Springs, Fla., Jerri (Colonel (Ret.) Tom) Isom of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Ryan (Whitney) Veenstra of Clinton and Kyle (Diana) Veenstra of Waukee, Iowa; eight great-grandchildren: Jonas Wilken, Nick Murphy, Audrey and Ruby Isom, Olivia and Jackson Veenstra and Cullen and Piper Veenstra; two step-grandchildren, Bill (Ivonne) Makela and Teri Neblung; four step-great-grandchildren: Ashlyn and Alan Gibson, Kacie Neblung and Brayden Makela; her brother, Leonard (Dorothy) Neidig of Red Wing, Minn.; and three nieces. In addition to her husband, Ralph, she was preceded in death by her parents; brother, James Neidigh on August 24, 2005; and her son, John Veenstra on August 10, 2010.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to First United Methodist Church, Jefferson.
Funeral arrangements were handled by her grandson, Ryan Veenstra and the staff of Snell-Zornig Funeral Home of Clinton.