Ruth Regina VanWechel, 96, died of natural causes on Monday, Sept. 3, 2007, at the Liberty Medical Center in Chester.
A graveside memorial service will be at 2 p. m. Saturday at the Rudyard Cemetery. A coffee hour will follow at the Rudyard Senior Center. Ruth was born Feb. 26, 1911, at Anamoose, N.D. She was the second of four children born to Matthew and Louise (Konietzka) Wehr. When Ruth was just an infant, the Wehr family came to Montana to a homestead seven miles south of Inverness. She received her formal education in Montana, graduating from Rudyard High School in 1928. She visited North Dakota where an aunt taught her to sew. Ruth used these skills as a seamstress throughout her life. After returning to Montana, Ruth fell in love with a Rudyard farmer/barber, Lester M. VanWechel. They were married in Rudyard on Nov. 11, 1932. They lived on the farm until 1946, then moved into town. The VanWechels were in their late 40’s when they were fortunate to retire in 1956, and they began enjoying the fruits of their labors. Each winter they traveled abroad to experience new places and new people. During the next 30 years they essentially traveled around the world twice. Lester became ill in 1986. After a long hospitalization, he died on May 25, 1986, at age 79. At the time of Lester’s death, the VanWechels had been happily married for 54 years. Ruth remained in their Rudyard home until her health declined in 20 when she moved to the Wheat Country Estates in Chester. Two years ago she transferred to the nursing home, where she died peacefully on Labor Day. In those early years on the farm the VanWechels were members of the Grace Church north of Rudyard. After moving to town, Ruth often attended church at Our Savior’s Lutheran. They also enjoyed activities at the Rudyard Senior Center. Ruth and Lester loved music and dancing, and participated in many square-dances around the state. They also liked to go fly-fishing together. In addition to sewing, Ruth enjoyed bowling, cooking, and gardening. She was proud of her yard and flowers, and did her own mowing into her 90’s. After moving to the nursing home, she took up the hobby of punch-quilting. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, brother, Clarence (Ruth) Wehr; a sister, Helen (Sam) Chapman; a brother-in-law, Kenneth Miller; and a nephew, Darryl Miller. Ruth is survived by sister, Elaine Miller of Joplin; three nieces and two nephews and numerous great-nieces/nephews. Memorials are suggested to the Rudyard Museum, the Liberty County Nursing Home (Activities Fund), or donor’s choice. Cremation and arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel of Chester.