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Juanita L. Ruths

HANOVER Always a servant of God, our beloved wife, mother and grandmother, Juanita I. (Waters) Ruths, 88, departed this life on Wednesday, April 17, 2013, and entered the unlimited presence of God. Seriously ill for several years, she died at Homewood Retirement Village, Hanover. Born March 5, 1925, in Bellwood, Ill., Juanita was the third child of the late Roger M. and Viola (Bowler) Waters of Hopkins and St. Louis Park, MN. A 1942 graduate of Abraham Clark High School in Roselle, NJ, she worked for two years as a telephone operator prior to entering Gettysburg College in 1944. She majored in English Bible, serving for three years as secretary to the college chaplain and singing in the College Choir, an experience she cherished throughout her life. On November 1, 1947, she married Rev. Arthur L. Ruths, then associate pastor of Luther Memorial Church in Erie. She volunteered with the youth ministry, taught a senior high Sunday school class, sang in the adult choir and provided leadership to the women's group. Their first son, Joel Maclay, arrived January 1, 1950, as the first baby born in Pennsylvania. Juanita moved with her husband to his second pastorate at First Lutheran Church in Ridgway, where she served as volunteer choir director and their second son, Mark Alan, was born. From 1953 to 1959, they lived in State College, where she assisted with student activities during Art's service as Lutheran campus pastor at Penn State. Two more sons, Paul Fredric and David Arthur, were born there. After the family's next move to Livingston, N.J., Nita again engaged in a leadership role, this time at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Florham Park as superintendent of the Sunday Church School. Art's position as Missionary Personnel Secretary to the Board of World Missions of the Lutheran Church in America required extensive worldwide travels during which Nita ably and lovingly managed the four energetic young boys. During this time she was also den mother to a Cub Scout pack that met weekly in their home. With their move to Hanover, in 1967, Nita assisted with her husband's ministry at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, providing educational leadership and singing in the Sanctuary Choir. A teacher of several adult classes in the Bethel Bible program, she helped organize and co-directed an Individualized Confirmation Instruction program for 15 years, served as writer-editor of the parish's weekly newsletter for 14 years and was an active member of St. Matthew's Women of the ELCA. Juanita served as chair of the Communications Committee of the Board of Directors of the Hanover Council of Churches for 12 years. She served as a member of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches' TELERAD committee, an interdenominational ministry via television and radio in south central PA. She also participated in Citizens for Decency Through Law, a local effort to limit pornographic influences. She served three terms as secretary of the Board of Directors of Lutheran Social Services of South Central PA. Together with five local Lutheran congregations, she initiated and helped organize an annual Lay School of Christian Studies that continued for over 20 years. In addition to her husband of more than 65 years, she is survived by four sons: Joel and wife Deborah, Hanover; Mark and wife Rosemary, Houston, Texas; Paul and wife Virginia, Woodland Park, Colo.; and David and wife Colleen, Northumberland. Juanita is also survived by ten grandchildren: Mrs. Janel (Ruths) Yost, Hanover; Dr. Derek Ruths, Montreal, Canada; Dr. Justin Ruths, Singapore; Troy Ruths, Houston; Weston Ruths, Houston; Natalie and Logan Ruths, Woodland Park, Colo.; Jonathan, Abigail and Garrett Ruths, Northumberland. In addition, there are five great-grandchildren. Besides her parents, Juanita was preceded in death by brother Cdr. Wayne R. Waters, USN ret., and two sisters, Minnette L. Kundtz and Doris E. O'Connor. A memorial service to celebrate Juanita's life of service will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 30 West Chestnut St., Hanover, with the Rev. Dr. Daniel Yeiser officiating. There will be a private viewing for extended family members. Visitation with family members will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will be private in Rest Haven Cemetery, Hanover. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be given to St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Organ Fund; or to the , P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011 (alz.org). Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Wetzel Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. To share memories of Juanita Ruths please and view a video tribute please visit www.wetzelfuneralhome.com

Funeral Home

Wetzel Funeral Home - Hanover
549 Carlisle Street  Hanover, PA 17331
717-632-1242

Published in Evening Sun on May 9, 2013
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