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Ruth F. Thorbjornsen

March 11, 1932 ~ April 16, 2020 (age 88)


Ruth F. Thorbjornsen (nee Ekman) died on Thursday, April 16, 2020.

Ruth was born in Winter, WI on March 11, 1932 to parents Otto and Alice Mae (Shoemaker) Ekman. Growing up on the family farm, Ruth was the Valedictorian of her Winter High School graduating class.  Moving to Chicago, IL she attended Trinity Seminary and Bible College (now Trinity International University) wanting to become a missionary, but later entered the nursing program at St. Luke’s Hospital (now Rush Hospital) and became a Registered Nurse.  She married Paul Thorbjornsen (of Winter, WI) on November 2, 1957 in Chicago where they made their home.  In the early 1960’s, Ruth and Paul moved to Buffalo Grove, IL where their three children were raised.

As a Registered Nurse, Ruth worked at Holy Family Hospital, Brandel Care Center and then finished her nursing career as a private nurse.  Ruth was also a Den Mother for Cub Scouts, seamstress for numerous school projects, baker of fabulous birthday cakes and breads, and an active neighbor.  An early proponent of healthy eating, Ruth spent many years growing and canning vegetables from the family garden and instilled in her children an appreciation of nature.

In 1987, after Ruth and Paul retired, they moved back up to a new home on Lake Winter. Ruth attended Zion Lutheran Church and Winter Evangelical Free Church, where she also served as a Sunday School teacher.  Ruth was an active member in the Christian Women’s Club and Dorcas Society.  Always having a strong faith in Christ, Ruth would often talk with others about the Bible and her faith. She was able to help many become believers in Christ as reflected in the many birthday cards she would receive each year.

Ruth was diagnosed with dementia in 2015. She entered eternal glory with Christ, peacefully held by God’s grace, just over a month past her 88th birthday.  She is survived by her husband of 62 years Paul, children Joy Thorbjornsen-Coates, Paul Thorbjornsen Jr., and Jan (Jeff) Easley. She has four grandchildren, Cameron and Sonja Coates and Joshua and Jordan Easley. Ruth is also survived by sisters Nina Robinson, Edith (Tiny) Trainor and Greta Davis.

Ruth was proceeded in death by her parents, siblings Emanuel, Carl, George, Otto Jr., William, Robert, Linnea, Grace, Sven and son-in-law Donald Coates.

The family wishes to extend deep thanks to Ladysmith Care and Rehab and Lakeview Medical Ctr Hospice for the respect and care given to their wife and mother at the end of her earthly journey.

A funeral service is planned for Ruth at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th, 2020 at the Winter Cemetery in Winter, WI with Pastor Tonee Martin officiating.   A time of gathering will be held at the cemetery from 1:30 to 2:00 p.m. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth F. Thorbjornsen, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
June 6, 2020

2:00 PM
Winter Cemetery
Cemetery Road
Winter, WI 54896
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