Ruth Ronquist

Ruth Ronquist

SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – Ruth Marie Ronquist, of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, died peacefully at Merlin Home in the loving care of her family on April 5, 2023. She was 92 years old.

Ruth was born on August 21, 1930. The fifth of 6 children, she was born to Charles and Saima (Dahl) Jokela in Negaunee, Michigan.

Ruth is survived by her 6 children: Stanley, Shirley (Rich Robinson) Ronquist, Sharon (Pete Blair) Janet (Mark Taylor), Rudy (Shelly Wilds) and Ron (Maureen), thirteen grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren as well as sisters-in-law, Marilyn Anderson and Karen Ronquist.

Ruth was predeceased by her husband, Raymond, her parents, Charles and Saima (Dahl) Jokela and her 5 siblings: Albert, Esther, Stanley (KIA WWII), Charles and Elna.

Ruth spoke very fondly of growing up on Cherry Street in Negaunee. There were many children in the neighborhood in the 1930s. She often recalled that the entire street was like one big playground. In 1938, Ruth and her father contracted tuberculosis. They were admitted to the Morgan Heights Sanitarium where her father died in April, 1938. This was a major setback for the family during the Great Depression, but her mother was determined to move forward. Saima was able to find employment and went to work. Ruth’s oldest siblings, Albert and Esther, stepped up to help raise their younger siblings. Ruth was always grateful for all the help her Aunt Sophie and Uncle Julius (Lu) Lahti provided during these tough times.

Ruth graduated from Negaunee High School in 1948. Ruth was active in High school including being a cheerleader and she made many goodfriends there. Ruth and several friends stayed close over the years. They are still known as the “Knittin’ Kittens”.

After high school, Ruth, with help and encouragement of family, especially Esther, was able to start nursing school. Ruth obtained her RN degree from the Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester Minnesota. Ruth made many friends while there and they also remained lifelong friends. They held reunions at different locations around the country.

In 1952, Ruth married Raymond Ronquist. Together they raised 6 children, living mostly in Sault Ste. Marie in the John Street and Thirteenth Ave., neighborhood. It was a great neighborhood where the ladies could easily borrow eggs or some sugar from each other. True to the times, Ruth was always busy taking care of her large family, but still managed to find time to be a Cub Scout leader, Sunday school teacher and served on Campfire Girls board of directors. She was a great mom/nurse. When the children were sick or even had chickenpox or the measles, she managed to make them feel well taken care of.

The ladies of the neighborhood always made time to get together to play Scrabble. Ruth got to be very good at Scrabble, maybe too good. Eventually she agreed to switch it up to Yahtzee, as long as they played for small stakes. Ruth had many friends in the neighborhood as well as at Faith Lutheran Church and in her bowling leagues.

Ruth and Ray moved to Lake Mary (near Crystal Falls) in the early 1980s. They enjoyed their time together with friends and family at the lake. Ruth was known to send out nearly 200 Christmas cards to her many friends she gathered over the years with a personal note in each one.

In her later years, after losing her husband, Ruth was diagnosed with dementia. She maintained her cheerfulness and positive attitude in the face of this adversity. She was always grateful for what she had and never concerned herself with what she lacked. One thing that she had in spades was SISU!

The family appreciates all the wonderful care Mom received at Freighter View Assisted Living and Merlin Home.

A graveside memorial service will be held at the Negaunee Cemetery on June 28 at 11:30 am with a luncheon to follow.

Ruth’s final wish would be that everyone help someone in less fortunate circumstances.