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Ruth Clemmons

September 13, 1922 April 21, 2020
Ruth Clemmons
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Obituary for Ruth Clemmons

Ruth Lindgren Clemmons passed peacefully from this life at age 97 on April 21 2020, at St. Catherine’s Village with her family by her side. She had a strong faith and as she conveyed to her daughters, “I have someplace to go and I’m running late!” Born in 1922 in Chicago, Illinois to Swedish immigrants, she was the second oldest of 6 children. Though they grew up during the depression and then World War II, stories of those years were always punctuated by joy and love.

After finishing teacher’s college Ruth embarked on a 4-year adventure—teaching at an international school in Venezuela. Upon her return she met the love of her life, a handsome airman named Clifton Clemmons. Until his death she said, “I still get flutters when I hear his car driving up to the house!” While in the Air Force they had two daughters, Rebecca (known by family as Becky and by everyone else as “Tree”) and Rachel (known by her older sister originally as “the pest” and later as “my best friend”). They enjoyed living all over the US, from Georgia to Alaska and many points in between.

After retiring from the Air Force and when the girls were grown, Ruth went back to teaching adult reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) to international students. A few years after her husband’s untimely death at age 61, she retired from teaching and took her pursuits in a new direction. She began volunteering with Baptist missionaries overseas, spending months at a time helping them in their offices or teaching ESL in the schools. Her travels took her to most of the continents where she loved meeting people and learning about other cultures.

Ruth was a voracious reader and she also took up technology during her missions travels. Into her 90’s she was renowned by family and friends for creating funny and imaginative personalized birthday cards on her computer. Throughout her life she was active in her church, teaching Sunday School and missions, but she was probably best remembered by all for her wonderful smile when greeting anyone that she didn’t recognize and making them feel welcome. Even when she was no longer able to live alone, she made certain that new residents at St. Catherine’s Village had a friend and worried when they didn’t show up for activities.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Clifton Clemmons, step-son Wright Clemmons, and 4 siblings. She is survived by daughters Rebecca (Eric) James and Rachel (Rob) Potter; grandchildren Chris (Laura) Clemmons, Cary (Christy) Clemmons, and Michelle (Reed) Monday; eight delightful great-grandchildren; siblings Earl (Ann Elise) Lindgren and Carol Bergman plus many beloved nieces and nephews.

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