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1924 - 2011 Obituary Condolences

Ruth Ziegler Apostolakos, 87, passed on to heaven on Saturday November 5, 2011 after a stroke. Ruth was born on March 31, 1924 in Brook Park, Minnesota to parents Pearl and Elmer Ziegler. She had three brothers and grew up on a family farm with lots of extended family nearby. Ruth left the farm to attend college at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. Ruth majored in art and music and got a teaching degree. Special friends introduced Ruth to a handsome Greek American named Peter Apostolakos. Ruth and Peter were married on September 13, 1947 and were married for 55 years before Peter's death in 2002.

Ruth and Peter raised three daughters, who survive her: Diane Apostolakos of Sacramento, Connie Apostolakos and Margo Lund of Chico. Ruth also leaves behind four grandchildren: Daniel and Philip Lund, Julia and Justine Biery, and son-in-law, Mark Lund, all of Chico. Ruth is survived by many cousins, extended family and dear friends she considered her family, including nieces, Ellen Ziegler Faber, Kiki Morisseau, Theodora Bovis, Kathy Zazas, and Urania Zorbas; nephews, Daniel Ziegler, Kelly Ziegler, Joseph Ziegler, Gust Pappas, John Pappas, Nick Pappas and Chris Pappas. Ruth's parents and three brothers, Elmer Ziegler Jr., Reinald Ziegler and Charles Ziegler, all preceded her in death.

Ruth was blessed with many creative talents and gifts. She loved music, and played the piano and organ for 80 years. Ruth played music at Trinity United Methodist Church of Chico and also at the Congregational Church of Chico. Ruth had a stroke in 2009 at age 85, which left her unable to use her right hand. Determined to keep playing, Ruth switched to being left handed and taught herself to play both the chords and melody with her left hand. She continued to play the piano for an hour every day right up to her final days.

Ruth's first job was teaching art. After her children were born, she stayed at home to raise them. When her children grew up, Ruth returned to work as a first grade teacher at Parkview School. Later she taught special education in Orland. After retiring, she volunteered at school teaching kids how to knit. Ruth loved children, and enjoyed her many years as a teacher.

Ruth never forgot she was a farm girl, so she planted trees, flowers and vegetables everywhere she lived. She loved her home in Chico where she lived for 46 years. She had a big vegetable garden with many fruit trees, and loved being generous with her produce. Over the years Ruth gave away hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, grapes, and figs. If you visited Ruth during harvest season, you would not go home empty handed.

Ruth's creative and artistic talents were legendary. She crocheted, knitted, made clothes and Halloween costumes, painted with oil and water colors, painted pictures of her children, painted a big sunflower on her wall, painted rocks, wove baskets, baked bread and made delicious Greek food. Ruth made a quilt with art from her first graders, and quilts for each of her three daughters. Ruth designed and created several stained glass windows at Trinity United Methodist Church of Chico. Ruth made soap and inspired a neighbor to start a soap business. Ruth made jewelry, painted fabric, embroidered, researched family history, wrote poems, and wrote and illustrated two children's books. Her first book is a delightful true story called Lori's Pumpkin about a fun event in her first grade class. Ruth loved animals, so her second book is Ducks Make Good Pets. This book tells about the pet Mallards Ruth and her children raised. Ruth created beautiful stitchery illustrations for the book.

Ruth was always active, and loved to bike ride through the park until her first stroke at age 85. After that she used a walker, but still enjoyed taking a daily walk and riding a tricycle built for two.

Ruth had a great love for people, and was good at bringing people together. She was an eternal optimist and always had something positive to say about everyone. Ruth's family and friends were her greatest joy and she delighted in the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren. She was a founding member of the Sew Whats, a sewing group of 12 friends that started meeting together over 30 years ago. Ruth also started a Ruth Club with 10 other friends named Ruth. Ruth had a lifelong faith in God and was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church of Chico and the Congregational Church of Chico. She was also a member of PEO and the Chico State Faculty Wives. Ruth loved to travel and visit family and friends, and took many trips to Europe and Greece with her husband Peter.

Ruth was dearly loved, and her warm smile and gracious presence will be missed.

A Memorial Service will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church of Chico, 285 East 5th Street on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. A reception will follow at the church.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record on Nov. 12, 2011
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