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Ruth C. Bak, 78, died on Thursday, April 9, at Whitney Cottage, Green House Living for Sheridan. She was born on the family farm west of Viborg, South Dakota, to Rose (Petersen) and Peter Westegaard. She had three older siblings, Arland, Leslie, and Doris, and Ruth was the youngest. She had 3 older half-brothers, Nels, Carl, and Earl. Her early education was in a rural school, #81 Salem township-rural Viborg. She graduated from Viborg High School in 1955. Ruth attended Yankton College to obtain a teaching degree and taught in a country school in South Dakota. Ruth married Glen J. Bak in February, 1958. They raised three children together and lived in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Iowa. They were godparents to family friend, Geri Gaddis-DeVries, and cared for her for an extended period of time when she was an infant. Early on in their life together, they worked in Wyoming, and Ruth always spoke of moving back when they lived in the Midwest. She loved the mountains and was able to visit Sheridan for family vacations. In 1984, a job opportunity arose in Sheridan and the couple jumped at the chance to live in the area that they loved once again. By then, two of her three children were grown and on their own. In every place Ruth lived, she was involved in singing. She was part of the Des Moines chapter of Sweet Adelines, sang in church choirs, and barbershop quartets. When they moved back to Sheridan, she started singing with a local group of women who also enjoyed harmonizing. Her singing ability and musical talent were her biggest sources of pride. In addition to working as a teacher, Ruth worked in nursing homes, and as a cook/care-giver in private homes. She had a passion for travel, learning new things, and was a fabulous cook and gardener. Her love for animals started at a very young age, and her household was rarely without a spoiled pet. She was preceded in death by her parents, Rose and Peter Westegaard, an infant daughter, Marisa Rose, and siblings, Leslie, Carl, Nels, and Earl. Ruth is survived by her husband, Glendow J. Bak, siblings, Doris DeVries and Arland Westegaard, her children, Rhonda Duncan (Barnaby), Mark Bak, and Marisa Olson (Darin), and five grandchildren, Jesse, Tess, Spencer, Celia and Mara. According to Ruth's wishes, cremation has taken place and memorial services will be held at a later date. Arrangements have been entrusted with Champion Funeral Home.
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