Ruth Johnson: Forever young ... Former Erin Corners resident celebrates 100th birthday with family and friends
An open house in honor of Ruth Johnson’s 100th birthday was held Saturday, Oct. 10, at Minnehaha Senior Living in Minneapolis, with many friends and relatives gathering for the event.
Ruth (Powers) Johnson was born Oct. 9, 1915, in Fargo, N.D., the eldest of five children.
In the fall of 1922, the Powers moved to Wisconsin in hopes of finding better farmland and after finishing high school, Ruth attended beauty school in Minneapolis.
Ruth married Roy Johnson April 20, 1940, in St. Paul.
Their first home was in New Richmond and in October 1944, when their son Robert was 20 months old and daughter Kaylene was two months old, they moved to their Erin Corners farm southeast of New Richmond.
One of the memories not mentioned below, but told by a relative is that Ruth and Roy donated the land used to build the baseball field at the corners more than 50 years ago.
After Roy’s death in 2009 Ruth moved to Minneapolis, where she now lives.
At the party, many of the family and friends took a few minutes to describe their fondest memories of Ruth and what she meant to them.
Their remembrances are as follows:
Kim Korent: Grandma is the epitome of what a grandma should be. She loves you unconditionally, is always glad to see you and feeds you with homemade food and treats until you are ready to burst.
Her sense of humor and love is very special to me.
Holly Floyd: I have such fond memories of visiting my Aunt Ruth at their farm house in Wisconsin. Ruth has always been a kind-hearted woman.
Debbie Powers: Ruth, I remember your home next to Erin Corners bar - where I would watch Rick play softball and would get to see the horses. I remember you traveled to Minnesota to be at our wedding - thank you. The mirror you gave us for a wedding gift hung on our wall for many years. The two of you coming to our children’s graduation parties was wonderful and I also remember coming to your home with our daughter, Marcie. I loved the memories you shared with us of your younger years! Happy 100th birthday, Aunt Ruth!
Brenda Mesaros: Dear Aunt Ruth, I will always remember you and Uncle Roy’s farm with the large Clydesdale horses! In the 1980s I asked you to sew Halloween costumes for my children. You sewed a clown costume, as well as a princess dress. You also helped me with my prom dress in 1978!
You are my dad’s eldest sister and I remember you and Uncle Roy sitting in the back pews with our family during church. I love you, Aunt Ruth! Happy 100th birthday with many blessings and love!
Canton Baker: I remember the times I used to come to your old apartment and have lunch with you and I loved the sandwiches. I hope you have a happy birthday. I love you so much.
Chris Johnson: I am a nephew to Ruth and growing up I loved to visit the farm and see the Clydesdale horses. I would never go into the house to visit; I would just want to hang out with the big horses.
Roy was my father’s brother and my dad lived with Roy and Ruth in the early days of marriage. My father always thought of Roy and Ruth as parental-type role models.
Ruth was always so kind when we would visit and always made such a wonderful lunch with homemade pickles which were the best.
There is no surprise that Ruth has reached the century mark. She has always been an active and vibrant part of our family.
Dean Powers: I am Ruth’s nephew. When I was eight years old I played Little League baseball at Erin Corners baseball field, which is next door to ruth and Roy’s house.
After our game I walked to Ruth’s house where she treated me with milk and cookies. My friends were amazed and jealous that I could walk over to her house right after the game and be treated with milk and cookies while the rest of our team had to wait for their parents to take them home.
I always looked forward to playing baseball at Erin Corners.
Laura Hettiger: Ruth Johnson is my aunt. My mother was her youngest sister. Our family stayed at the farm for a year with Aunt Ruth and Uncle Roy.
I remember the kitchen; it was such a busy place with amazing things going on! From my mom and Aunt Ruth remodeling the kitchen themselves and making the kitchen cabinets, to the baking, you knew there was always cookies, cakes, brownies … something good! The coffee pot was always ready. Aunt Ruth would can the produce from her garden and in her spare time she would do hair. She did haircuts and perms and I received my first perm from Aunt Ruth.
She was an amazing seamstress and could knit, crochet and probably a million other talents that I am not aware of.
When I retired, I came from Illinois to spend a week with Aunt Ruth on the farm. We bummed all over and had a great time. Once when I was visiting, she had made a lunch with dessert and “confessed” that the cake came from a box mix. I told her that nowadays if you turn the oven on it was considered homemade. She looked at me and decided that she liked that definition.
Thanks for the memories, Aunt Ruth. I love you …
Lori Kristianson: I had the pleasure to meet Ruth while I helped out another resident at the senior living where Ruth lives. Ruth was always ready to join us for a walk - or to an activity or to try something new. I asked her how she aged so gracefully - she was never upset, never complained and never frustrated.
She said, ‘Oh, that takes too much energy - and she laughed! I said, ‘Didn’t your husband ever do something that drove you nuts and made you frustrated?’ ‘Oh,’ she laughed, ‘I suppose he did, but I never like to keep feelings in like that - I just sweep them out of my brain and move on!’
She definitely has the secret to ‘let it go’ and live with joy.
Dave, Karen, Jessica, Sarah and Jake Lutz: Ruth and Roy had a Ford Ranger pickup truck, black in color, 6 cylinder, 4-speed. I was over to their farm one day to work on Roy’s lawnmower that had quit. Well, we got that mower fixed and as I was standing there talking to Roy I asked him what he was going to do with the old Ranger pickup sitting in his yard. He had purchased a new truck and was not sure what he would do the the Ranger.
I asked him if he would sell it to me.
He said, ‘I can’t sell it to you, but if you agree to give it a good home, I would give it to you.’ I told him that would not be a problem.
Every one of my children drove that pickup truck while they were going through high school. Just want to say thank you to Ruth and Roy for their generosity. P.S. All my children know how to drive a clutch, only Sarah didn’t quite master it … a tree got in the way!
Margaret Langness: I have known Ruth for years because she and her husband attended First Lutheran and she was a member of Joy Circle. She also was very active with our annual smorgasbord.
This next description was something that happened and something with which she was a bit embarrassed … After our circle meeting she went out to her little truck and found she had locked the keys in the truck. So we took her up to get another key … it was very embarrassing, but ended up laughable.
As an added note, when I first came to New Richmond to work I stayed with Hattie Rathe who was widowed and she was a relative to Ruth, In fact, Hattie and Ruth looked alike.
Mary Jane Plunkett and family: Our family met Ruth at Minnehaha Senior Living while my mom lived here.
Ruth’s stories of growing up in the Dakotas and living on the farm in Wisconsin were wonderful to hear. Ruth is the kindest, healthiest 100-year-old we know! She is a pleasure on this earth.
Melissa (Dimond) Pasiczhyk: Ruth and Roy are my great-grandparents. I remember being on their farm as a kid, playing in the house, picking raspberries with great-grandma and playing baseball in the field next to the farm.
Laura Hettiger assisted in the compiling of these testimonials.