ISHPEMING, MI. - Ruth A .Champion, age 96, of 653 W. Division St. in Ishpeming, died peacefully in her sleep, at home, on Saturday, December 28th, 2013, while under the constant, loving care of her two daughters Debbie and Darlene, her son-in-law Don, and U.P Home Health & Hospice.
Ruth was born on January 4th, 1917 to Elmer and Hilda (Willig) Kangas in Princeton, MI. Ruth and her husband Albert P. Champion were married for 49 years, just 3 weeks short of their 50th wedding anniversary which would have been on April 8th, 1994. Her husband Albert "Abbie" died on March 20th 1994. Together they had raised four children: Daryl, Dennis, Darlene, and Debbie.
Ruth and Albert owned and operated the "Champion's Taxi" service in Ishpeming for 13 1/2 years, retiring in 1974. Ruth was the receptionist/call dispatcher, and Albert was the taxi driver. Earlier in her life, Ruth worked at the H.W.Gossard Co. in Ishpeming; she also was employed as a housekeeper/nanny for Dr. & Mrs. Francis Bell, and also did housekeeping for Dr. & Mrs. Corcoran. Her favorite occupation was her roles of wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother! She always put everyone else's needs before her own, and never complained, (not even during the past years of her failing eyesight and health). Ruth's mother died when Ruth was 14 years old, and she immediately quit school to help her father raise her younger twin brothers and with the housekeeping. Ruth and Albert additionally opened their hearts and home to other extended family members when they needed a place to live.
Ruth was always content to be close to home, and never had a desire to travel. However, she loved whenever anybody would stop in to visit, for just a few minutes or for an extended stay! Her door was open to all, her big smile welcomed you in, and her huge heart would do anything to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. Holidays were her greatest joys, when family would gather for "together time", good food, and lots of love and laughter. Christmas Eve was always chaotic (just the way the family liked it), birthdays always required cake and coffee, July 4th always included the parade and lunch afterwards, & weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, new babies, and family reunions and get togethers of any size and type were always anticipated and celebrated, and now they are all cherished memories. Ruth also took great pride and care in sending greeting cards to family and friends for all occasions, and would search endlessly for just the right one!
She loved getting cards and letters and has saved all of them, bundled together in boxes in a closet. Thanks to all who took the time to send cards and letters to Mom over the years - you will never know how much they all meant to her.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Albert in 1994, her son Dennis in 2006, her son Daryl in 2007 & her grandson Michael A. Lucas in 1989. Also, her parents Elmer and Hilda (Willig) Kangas, her step-mother Hulda (Kanerva) Kangas, her brothers and their wives: John & Doreen Kangas, Bernhardt and Mildred Kangas, Uno and Mayme Kangas, Arne and Ella Kangas, Reino and Mae Kangas, her brothers Lauri Kangas and Onnie Kangas, her sisters and their husbands: Elsie and Leonard Koski, and Martha and Leo Mattson.
Ruth is survived by her two daughters and their husbands: Darlene and Michael B. Lucas of Marquette and Debbie and Donald L. Erickson of Ishpeming, her daughter- in-law: Clarice Champion of Ishpeming, her granddaughter and her husband: Delcene and Rudy Nyman of Appleton, WI, her grandsons and their wives: Mark and Beth Champion of Green Bay, WI, and Ryan and Melissa Erickson of Ishpeming, her grandsons: Scott Champion of DePere, WI, & Christopher Lucas of Marquette, MI, her granddaughters: Kimberlee Erickson of Honolulu, HI, and Nicole Lucas of Marquette, MI, her great granddaughters: Kortney Nyman of Milwaukee, WI, Sydney and Toni Champion of Green Bay, WI, a great grandson: Brett Nyman of Appleton, WI, and a great grandson, Wyatt Erickson (due in January of 2014) and a great granddaughter (due in May of 2014). Also surviving is her brother Eino Kangas of Gwinn, MI, and her sister-in-law Gloria Kangas of Negaunee. Ruth also takes with her fond and cherished memories of all her friends, neighbors and family both near & far.
She was a very special lady.....we will all miss her greatly!
Ruth's family will greet relatives and friends on Tuesday December 31, 2013 from 11:00am-12:00noon at the Bethel Lutheran Church in Ishpeming where funeral services will be held at 12:00 noon with Rev. Lauri O. Maki officiating. Interment will take place in the Ishpeming Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Michael Lucas, Donald Erickson, Rudy Nyman, Mark Champion, Ryan Erickson, Scott Champion, Christopher Lucas, and Brett Nyman.
Ruth's obituary may be viewed at bjorkandzhulkie.com where relatives and friends may leave a note of remembrance.