Ruth Rothlisberg, 97, of Merrill, died peacefully on October 14, 2016 at Pine Crest Nursing Home under the care of her family, Aspirus Comfort Care & Hospice Services, and the fine staff of Pine Crest. She was the first born to Dora (Steiniger) and Paul Kienietz on December 24, 1918. Ruth graduated from Merrill High School and later married John Rothlisberg on September 3, 1944 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Merrill. He preceded her in death on December 13, 1995.
Ruth and John owned and managed Rothlisberg’s Grocery Store in Merrill until its sale in the 1960s. She was a fine homemaker, excelling in baking for her family and friends and contributing to church bake sales. Ruth was “family first” because of her focus on her family and their care. Friends and relatives often were guests at Sunday dinners and holidays.
Ruth was devoted to her faith and to Trinity Lutheran Church. Her special gift was the beautiful soprano voice that she used to praise God in the Trinity Senior Choir and various vocal groups. Ruth was known as a soloist for weddings and funerals as well as a member of Trinity’s Ladies Quartet during the 60s and 70s that specialized in performing German Christmas Carols and hymns. She’d sing a special descant for Silent Night at choir concerts and services and was a proud choir member into her 9th decade.
Aside from her music, Ruth participated in several church and community organizations. She was a member of Trinity’s Mission Circle, the Valparaiso Guild, the Merrill Concert Association, the Historical Society, and ushered at Trinity. Ruth served on committees for renovations of Trinity Lutheran Church and its narthex; she was interested in preserving Trinity’s heritage and the church’s beautiful stained glass windows.
Ruth is survived by her devoted son, George, and daughter, Barbara, both of Merrill, as well as two granddaughters(Sarah and Amy [Jamie Zynda]), one great-granddaughter, (Lily), two great-grandsons (Patrick and Charles), and numerous nieces and nephews. Ruth was particularly fond of her granddaughter, Sarah and Sarah’s Yorkie, Spike, who brought her unconditional love and attention. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; husband, John; son, John; sisters, DeLores and Bernice; and brother, Leslie.
A visitation and funeral service was held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Merrill, on Tuesday, October 18, 2016. Visitation was at 10:00 A.M. at the church with the service at 11:00 A.M. The Rev. Scott Gustafson officiated. Burial was in Merrill Memorial Park Cemetery following the service. The Taylor-Stine Funeral Home, Merrill, assisted the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the music programs or food pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church or to the resident’s fund at Pine Crest Nursing Home.
The family wishes to thank Aspirus Hospice for their assistance in end-of-life care and the CNAs and nurses of Pine Crest’s 900 Wing for their care and concern while Ruth was a resident.