• McLarens Resthaven Chapel & Mortuary
    West Des Moines, IA
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Ruth N. Lenihan 1925 - 2014

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Ruth N. Lenihan

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September 19, 2014
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September 19, 2014
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July 06, 2014
It has been one of my life's great blessings to be a part of the Lenihan family. Ruth was the glue that held everyone together and the deep sense of loss is testimony to her love for her family - she will so greatly missed. Sharon
July 04, 2014
My family lost a great women, who was the backbone of our family and kept us together through the good times and the bad. I'll always remember the Sunday morning breakfast with the whole family sitting around the little table in grandma's tiny kitchen eating her delicious swedish pancakes. For me times like those will always remind me of my loving grandma and family. Whether I realize it or not my grandmother and those experiences we shared have greatly influenced the man I am today. I'll never forget you and you'll always be in my heart. I love and miss you Grandma. Rest in Paradise

-Your loving grandson, Colin
July 03, 2014
My sympathy Lenihan family. As you grieve, may you find comfort in knowing that God "cares for you", and provides promises to encourage you through this difficult time. -1Peter5:7
July 03, 2014
Dear Vickie and family, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I know she was very proud of you. Please remember to take care of yourself in the coming weeks. May God's Peace surround you and your family.
Beth Gaul, Grand View University
July 02, 2014
Ruth Irene Nelson Lenihan, the woman who helped “mold” the three of us. My brother Tom, my sister Vickie, and myself.
You are who you, are based on your parents .......your siblings, your aunts and uncles, your cousins, your friends, your teachers, your co-workers and all life's circumstances and situations you endure, enjoy, and survive.

So many people and things affect your life and who you are, that you sometimes forget who was there first. Who had the most influence.

She grew up during the great depression. The fourth of five children, born to Swedish immigrants. Her father worked in the coalmines around Des Moines and later for the Rock Island railroad. Her mother worked as a maid for the Hubbells at Terrace Hill. The Nelson's were members of First Luthern Church on east 6th Ave.
She attended East High School, and around this time she met our Dad, Harold Lenihan, a Dowling High School student.
She would tell the story of when she went to tell our Grandpa John Lenihan (the Lenihan's were Irish Catholic), that she was going out to California to marry Harold. Grandpa John told her “Ruut, you know Harold's Catlic and you're Lutern, and one of you's is going to have to change, and it's not going to be Harold”.
She was a way better Catholic than any of the Lenihans.
She watched her husband go to war. She was in California, far from her family and friends. When he returned, she supported him while he went to college on the G.I. bill. They moved to their new house in West Des Moines even though all her “east side” family and friends wondered why her and Harold were moving “way out in the sticks”. Her father, “AE”, could not believe they paid $12,000.00 for that house “way out there”.

I remember the time Mom was making hash browns on the stove. Dad was at the table in his boxers, waiting for breakfast. When Mom brought the pile of hash browns over on the spatula she dropped it on his bare foot. As Dad screamed and lifted his foot, he put it down on the same pile of hot hash browns, now on the floor. We all tried to control our laughter waiting for the “Lenihan temper”. Mom just stood there laughing until tears were streaming down her face.

Mom hated cats. “Too sneaky”. But when we were at my Uncle Henry's house for a weekend visit and there was a stray white kitten, she let me bring it home. She didn't like it, but she sacrificed her feelings about cats for my feelings for “Snowflake”. That cat lived for 19 years. It died while I was in college.

In her later years when her health was failing and her mind was slipping we would remind her that it was OK.
When she tried to make her grandson her famous “Swedish” pancakes, a recipe that she had kept in her head for years, she stood at the stove and cried...she had forgotten the recipe.
Of course she remembered it the next day.


“Jesus, Mary” …..and all of us kids in unison, “and Joseph”.

“You kids are enough to make a person stuff peanuts up their nose”.
We weren't quite sure what that meant, but we knew it wasn't good.

When we would say the “S” word, Mom would always remind us “Put in your mouth what you wouldn't hold in your hand.

Mom and Dad made a home for us, “A house is made of brick and stone, a home is made of love alone”. We were raised in a two bedroom ranch, before there were “great rooms” and “open concept”. We set up card tables and folding chairs for Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, Graduations, any occasion that required the family to be together. If you were claustrophobic, you didn't want to be at the Lenihan's house on Christmas Eve. They raised three kids in that house along with various dogs, cats, fish, mice, etc…
It was our “home”, with all it's flaws …and we loved it.

Mom taught us all the virtues that she exemplified throughout her life.
More than one person has described our mother as a “Saint”.

She taught us right from wrong.

She taught us compassion and humility.
“You get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar”.

She taught us to laugh, at life's trial and tribulations, but more importantly, she taught us to laugh at ourselves.
“Don't flatter yourself”.

She taught us determination and hard work.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing right”.
“Work just fascinates that man, he could look at it for hours”.

She taught us to give, not just when it's convenient, but when it is needed.

Both my parents are gone now, but they are in my heart.
I will think of them everyday for the rest of my life.
Until we meet again.
Rest in peace Mom, you deserve it.
Bob

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