Ruth Ann Carlson
Ruth Ann Meierhoff Carlson was born Feb. 4, 1926, to Ernest and Ann Ice Meierhoff at their home near Clements, Kansas. She weighed only 4 ½ lbs and her parents worried she wouldn’t survive, but survive she did!
Her mother passed away when she was 15 and a freshman in high school. She and her sister, Irene, 12, helped their Dad with farm work and raising two younger sisters, Marie, 8, and Mildred, 4. She continued to do so even after she started teaching southeast of Marion at District 22 and later at Burdick by riding the “Doodlebug” home. The “Doodlebug” was a train that went from Strong City to Nebraska daily, picking up passengers anywhere along the track.
She wanted to take piano lessons so badly when she was young that she made butter and cottage cheese to sell. She played the piano for all 12 grades of music during her four years of high school and played her first funeral when she was in the eighth grade. She taught piano lessons when she got older. She continued to play at Clements Church on Sundays, but a couple of times she went with a girlfriend to the Burdick Methodist Church.
On October 14, 1945 (his birthday), Joyce Carlson came to the friend’s house to meet her. He proposed to her on April Fool’s Day the next spring and they were married Aug. 16, 1946, in the two-story rock house she was born in.
They moved into a home east of Lincolnville where they raised four children: Ronnie, Duane, Marcus, and Judy. Ruth Ann worked hard all of her life but Sundays after church were days to fish, hunt, swim, play, or entertain friends or guests. She always had enough food for “one more” and nobody ever left her house hungry. (If you did, it was your own fault).
In 1958, she taught herself how to play the organ and played at numerous churches until a stroke in 2011 made that impossible.
Her father encouraged his daughters to become involved in 4-H when they were growing up. She remembered him saying, “be sure your children are involved in 4-H, don’t ever in your lifetime forget that it was because of you being in 4-H that we were able to keep our family together.” She never did forget and dedicated her life to 4-H. She was a community leader for 40 years and taught numerous projects. She was instrumental in getting the Lincolnville 4-H Community Building built and ran the 4-H concession stand at the ball park for years. She wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, especially youth, and started the Marion County 4-H Endowment Fund for leadership and scholarship opportunities.
She taught hunter safety education courses from 1973 until 2000. She was a district officer in the Salina district United Methodist Women’s group for three years, vice president of the district for 12 years, president of the Salina district for six, a Farm Service Agency board member, and served on numerous other committees. She was a member of the Friendly EHU, taught Sunday school, organized the Cottonwood Valley Cattlewomen’s Association, and judged at county fairs. She compiled history for the Marion County history book. She was involved in other activities too numerous to list.
Ruth Ann also loved to garden and can foods, fish, raise poultry, and travel. She and Joyce cherished time with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They attended as many activities as possible for all of them and they leave behind a wonderful legacy of their love, dedication and hard work.
Ruth Ann was preceded in death by her father and mother, Ernest and Ann Ice Meierhoff, stepmother M. Louise McConnaughey Meierhoff, her husband, Joyce, a sister, Marie Clegg, and stepsister Mary Gardner Hardy.
Survivors are: sisters, Jessie Irene Lenke, Mesa, Arizona, and Mildred Louise Wilson of Houston, Texas; stepsister Patricia Gardner Stein, Olathe; three sons, Ronnie, Duane, and Marcus, all of Lincolnville, Kansas; a daughter, Judy Carlson Ingalsbe, Furley, Kansas; 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 19 foreign exchange grandchildren from around the world.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 9, 2015, at United Methodist Church, Burdick; and where the family will receive friends Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Pastors Bill Peterson and Suzie Talbot will be officiating. Burial will be in Burdick Methodist Cemetery.
Memorials are to the Burdick United Methodist Church, or Marion County 4-H Endowment Fund, and may be sent in care of Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home & Crematory, Herington Chapel, 404 S. Broadway St., Herington KS 67449-3038.
For more information or to leave a special message for the family online, visit www.PenwellGabelHerington.com.