Kuhler Funeral Home

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Ruth Greeves

Ruth Greeves obit photoRuth Greeves, age 101, of Huron, died September 26, 2006.  Her memorial service was held at 2:00 PM, September 29th at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Rinearson officiating.  Burial was in the G.A.R. Cemetery, at Miller.

Ruth Kingdon was born January 2, 1905, on a farm near Hitchcock, South Dakota to Henry and Elsie (Pidge) Kingdon. She was the second of three children. She had an older brother, Bob Kingdon and a younger bother, Gene Kingdon, who is still living in Huron. Her father emigrated from England as a young man. Ruth attended country school through the fifth grade, often in the winter traveling to school by sleigh. Of course a farm in those days had no telephone, electricity, radio, or automobile. She spent a winter in Long Beach, California with her family before moving to Huron in 1916.

She was a graduate of Huron High School in 1922 and Huron College in 1926. Her school years were busy with many activities, she was elected Pow Wow Princess at Huron College, and played on the Huron College Tennis Team. Since education was her field of interest, after graduation she taught school first in Lemon for one year and then in Presho the next five years before moving to Gettysburg, where she taught for one year.

While teaching in Gettysburg, she fell in love and married Earl Everett Greeves, a dashing young man who owned the local Ford dealership. Their son, Robert Earl Greeves was born in 1936, a year which changed Mrs. Greeves' life forever. Her joy over the birth was soon tempered by the illness of her husband. Earl Greeves died after a lingering illness later that year, probably caused by milk that was not pasteurized. For five years, during the Depression, Ruth attempted to continue operating the Ford dealership, but times were hard for experienced businessmen and even harder for an inexperienced business woman. Eventually she was forced to sell the agency and return to teaching. She taught in the Gettysburg system for four years before deciding to relocate to Huron. Her son remembers the years in Gettysburg as happy ones, partially because his mother lived in an apartment house and all the residents jointly took care of Bob while his mother worked at the garage. The mostly older residents in the building took turns spoiling Bob and acting as surrogate parents.

In 1945 Ruth and Bob moved to Huron where she resumed teaching, this time in the field of music. She lived across from Huron College at 738 Illinois Avenue SW, until the fall of 2002. She had no formal training in teaching music but loved it and spent most summers in school at various Midwestern universities and private sector programs improving her training. She studied music at Northwestern University, Minneapolis College of Music, University of Colorado, Colorado State College, Denver University, a Fred Waring Workshop, MacPhail College of Music, Schmitt Music Company in Minneapolis, Sioux Falls College, Seattle University and the University of South Dakota where she helped write the state course of study for South Dakota elementary school music.

They lived across from Huron College and she taught music in the Huron schools for the next 25 years. She loved her teaching, raising her young son and her involvement with the Huron Methodist Church, where she has been a life long member. She sang in their choir for 30 years along with many members of her extended family. She and her son often traveled throughout the U.S. and frequently spent summers with her brother Bob's family in the Wisconsin Dells area.

Among the honors she received during her life, in addition to being elected Pow Wow Princess at Huron College, she was elected to the Annie D. Tallent Club, Who's Who in American Education in 1965, and was the recipient of the South Dakota Music Educator's Recognition Award in 1981. For thirty-six years she was a member of the South Dakota Education Association and the National Education Association. She was also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, Pi Kappa Delta, Gamma Theta Rho, Theta Alpha Phi, the YMCA, AAUW and Chapter BE of P.E.O.

Upon retirement she spent her summers traveling abroad with three teacher friends and visited many countries, including the British Isles, Scandinavia, Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and six trips to Hawaii where she visited with her brother Bob. Her son Bob married and raised a family in Washington, D.C. and Ruth visited there many times. One of her joys was keeping record of the restaurants she had visited with Bob and his family. At last count the list had reached nearly one hundred different restaurants.

Her last Christmas in D.C. in 2001 involved visits with friends, parties and concerts at the Kennedy Center. A favorite family story involved Ruth at 97, shopping with her daughter-in-law when a bomb threat was announced and everyone was ordered to leave the store. Ruth loved to shop and wasn't about to stop for a bomb. It took a lot of persuading and promise of a return the next day to get her to leave. She remained in her own home, busy and active until 98, at which time she moved to Stoneybrook Suites in south Huron. At one point in her 90's she was asked if she was interested in Meals on Wheels. She graciously thanked the friend for the offer but she was a little too busy to deliver Meals on Wheels.

Ruth's life seems unique in our era. She uncomplainingly coped with what life offered her and turned adversity into positives. She ably raised her son on her own and doted on he and his children, Kelly and Wally, and now dotes on Kelly's children, Sydney, Michael, and Jake. She lived a life of service to others and carried on in difficult times with no fuss. In turn she has received the devotion of her family, the tribute of the many students that remember her fondly, and the rewards that come from living a life filled with kindness and care for others.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Earl Everett Greeves; her parents; and her brother, Robert Kingdon.

She is survived by her brother Eugene Kingdon of Huron, her son, Robert Earl Greeves, his wife, Mary Ann Greeves of Bethesda, Maryland; his first wife Trish Greeves of Elk River, Minnesota; her grandson, John Walter (Wally) Greeves and his wife Sonya of Vienna, Virginia; her granddaughter, Kelly Marcuzzi, her husband Darren; and her grandchildren, Sydney, Michael, and Jake of Marietta, Georgia. Inaddition, she has seven surviving nieces and nephews.