• Last modified 963 days ago (Dec. 2, 2021)



Ruth Friesen

A memorial service for Viola “Ruth” Friesen, 89, who “graduated” peacefully to be with her dear Savior in November, 2021, will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, at Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church.

Viewing will be 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the church. A light lunch and time of sharing will follow the service.

Born in the hills of “Ooty” in Tamil Nadu, India, to John and Viola Wiebe, she met her life-long darling, Herbert H. Friesen, at Tabor College. They were married in 1955 in Delft, Minnesota. He preceded her in death in 2005.

Ruth is survived by her five children, 19 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren:

  • Eldest son Stanley and wife Diane of Akron, New York, with two children, daughter Heidi and husband Christopher J. Watterson and baby of James, Indiana
  • Son Dustin and wife Emily with Abigail and Hannah of New York.
  • Son Bradley and wife Nancy of Fargo, North Dakota, with three children: son Benjamin and wife Missi and baby Kaia of Germany, son William and wife Kallie of Colorado, and daughter Sophia and North Dakota and Minnesota.
  • Son Daniel and wife Helen of Winnipeg, Manitoba, with four children: son Andrew and wife Julia of Ontario, daughter Emily and husband Alex Wuest with Paxton and Adalynn of Kansas, son David and Rae of Ontario, and son Timothy of British Columbia.
  • Son Ronald and wife Laurie of Louisville, Kentucky, with seven daughters: Jasmine of Kentucky, Talia of California, Tamara and husband Aaron Waller of Tennessee, Nakoma of California, Melody of Tennessee, and Macy and Michelle of Kentucky.
  • Daughter Julie and husband Gerald Reimer of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, with three daughters: Katrina of Arkansas, Kendra of Illinois, and Abir of Arkansas.

She also considered Habib Abdullah of Kansas her adopted Afghan son.

Ruth / Mom / Oma / Mother-dear lived a full, rich, giving life and touched literally thousands of lives around the world — with love and hugs and prayers and tears and always an appeal to know and experience the good news of Jesus Christ.

Her hospitality was legendary — serving everyone from traumatized Afghan refugees and scraggly world travelers to distinguished medical guests and international VIPs. All were welcome in our home.

And for those who didn’t come to her, she went to them. She made many bedside visits with eye-surgery patients, ministered to war victims in camps, distributed milk (“shir” with cheer) to hospitalized women, and provided relief and health care supplies to numerous destitute souls.

From India to Minnesota, Nepal to Indonesia, Kansas to Colorado, Afghanistan to Sierra Leone, Pakistan to Hillsboro, and so many places in between, there are many stories to remember, many songs that echo in our ears, and many lives that have been forever changed.

Her torch burned brightly to the end. As an Afghan friend recently told us, “She was everyone’s mother”.

The family would like to honor their mother by having donations sent for Afghan refugee aid and resettlement to Interserve USA, PO Box 418, Upper Darby PA 19082, online at or by phone at (800) 809-4440. Donors should indicate contributions are for the Ruth Friesen fund.

Last modified Dec. 2, 2021