RUTH MARIE BYERS
Age 90, formerly of Pittsburgh, PA, passed peacefully from this life, June 15, 2014, in Austin, Texas, surrounded by her loving family. A memorial celebration of the life and resurrection of sweet Ruth will be held Saturday, September 6, 2014, at 11:00 a.m. at Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1146 Greentree Road, Pittsburgh, PA. Ruth was a beautiful, gracious, lovely lady with a kind gentle spirit and an open heart. She was an inspiring and positive example and will always be remembered. Ruth was born the oldest of five children on September 8, 1923, in West Newton, PA, to Edith Trena Johnston and Cooper Freeman Byers. She enjoyed a happy childhood with hardworking Christian parents, close brothers and sisters and neighborhood buddies. Summers were spent on the Byers family farm with grandparents Mamma and Pappa and her four school teacher aunts and young uncle, doing chores, selling flowers and dairy, reading, singing and playing tennis. Ruth's formative years were founded in faith and family and friends. The daughter of a one room school teacher, Ruth loved learning and excelled in school. She attended Areford and graduated top ten from South Uniontown High School in 1941. As a lifelong learner, Ruth returned to school in her 50s to earn a Medical Assistant Certificate from the University of Pittsburgh Median School and to study studio art and art history at Chatham College. She possessed a keen mind and an investigative curiosity about her world and the people around her. She continually studied the Bible, art, history and science fascinated her. Following high school, Ruth worked for Bell Telephone as a long-distance operator. She married Otto F. "Frantz" Swegal, also of Uniontown, in 1942 and thereafter devoted herself to family life and raising their three children. Motherhood, homemaking and service was her calling from God and she served well. She was a Girl Scout and Boy Scout leader, she taught Sunday school and vacation Bible school. She made sure her children had music and art lessons and played sports, all the while volunteering at church and in the community and providing a beautiful home full of family and friends. She entertained easily and frequently and welcomed everyone! Ruth volunteered at Kane, Mayview and Magee Women's hospitals for many years and later at Bethlehem Haven women's shelter. She regularly visited shut-ins, the elderly and the sick. She opened her home to persons awaiting transplant surgery in Pittsburgh and faithfully cared for her aunt, Lee, and aging mother, Edith. She cooked for folks and events, and sent cards and notes. She had a way with flowers and collected hearts, and shared those freely. She was a giver and a doer with an open heart, always beginning each day with Bible devotions and a list of prayers for others. Her mottos were: "Never ignore a noble impulse" and "Learn everyone's name." "Do something for somebody else every day." She said God approved when we love lavishly! Ruth married David H. Luedemann on June 17, 1978, and there began a partnership of love and service of 36 years to family, friends, community, and especially, to Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church, their second "family". What affection and devotion they found in each other as they resided in Greentree and travelled and visited family and friends their way around the country and world. Home was Uniontown, Pittsburgh, Austin, wherever Ruthie was with family and friends! Ruth was blessed. She was an avid reader, an accomplished printmaker and artist, a golfer and bowler, a champion bridge player, a choir soprano, a wonderful cook, and always a true friend. She enjoyed all kinds of arts and crafts, especially knitting, needlepoint, sewing, and ceramics. Her Crafty Club pals were some of her dearest friends. She was talented and fun and shared her gifts with care and affection selflessly with those she came in contact with, even up to her final days in Austin. Ruth will be dearly missed by her beloved family, husband, David; and her children, son, Franz Brian Swegal, Hollywood, daughter, Linda Swegal Kreutz and husband, Charles, Austin, and son, Gary John Swegal and wife, Suzanne, Sewickley, PA; six grandchildren, Christian Derry Swegal, Los Angeles, Elizabeth Marie Kreutz and husband, James Bonney, Charles Matthew Kreutz, and Nathan John Kreutz, all of Austin, Dr. Warren Cooper Swegal and wife, Cordelia, Ferndale, MI, and Hayden Sullivan Swegal, Washington, D.C.; and her two very special great- grandsons, Charles Morgan Bonney and Benjamin Otto Bonney, "Charlie and Ben"; and her many, many close friends. Ruth will be greatly missed by her cherished sisters, Dorothy Elsey, (Jim, deceased) Canton, Ohio, and Eleanor Donato and husband, Mick, Minneapolis; and her sister-in-law, Linda Byers, Providence, RI; her cousins, precious nieces and nephews and their spouses and children will dearly miss Aunt Ruthie, truly a second mother to many. She was preceded in death by her parents, "Mother" and "Daddy"; her two brothers, Leslie Byers, Uniontown and Roger Byers, Providence; and recently, her first husband, Dr. Swegal, Churchill. Ruth wanted to be remembered most as a caring and loving mother and grandmother, a decent caring person who loved God and witnessed to His love while with us. God bless you and thank you, Mom. She strove for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these fruits of the Spirit I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when this day is done, I will rest. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wallace Memorial Presbyterian Church Music Fund and the Bethlehem Haven Women's Shelter, Pittsburgh, PA. A Memorial Service was also held Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Central Presbyterian Church, in Austin. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com. Arrangements by WEED - CORLEY - FISH FUNERAL HOME, 3125 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78705, (512) 452-8811.
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Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Aug. 10 to Aug. 11, 2014