Ruth Evelyn (Mitchell) Goldsmith passed away on July 3, 2020, at Corning Specialty Care at the age of 97 years, 7 months, and 18 days. Ruth was born November 15, 1922, to Henry and Genevieve (Jennie) Starks Mitchell on their second generation family farm in Taylor County, Iowa, south of Corning. For Ruth, life was an adventure and as a youth, along side her dog, she managed to explore every corner of the Mitchell farm and much of the Fairview community. Ruth was baptized as an infant and grew to faith in the Fairview Christian Church where at the age of 13, she began her 65+ year long stint volunteering as a Sunday School teacher. Ruth attended grade school through the 8th grade in Fairview’s one room school. High school years were in Corning where Ruth lived in town with her Grandmother Mitchell during the week. Class studies included normal training, qualifying her at age 18, to teach all grades first through eighth in a country school setting. Ruth graduated from Corning High School in 1940 at the age of 17 and attended classes that summer at Northwest Missouri Teachers College in Maryville, Missouri. In November of that year, she accepted her first teaching position in a school near the Lake of Three Fires outside Bedford. This building now sits on the grounds of the Taylor County Historical Society. The next fall, the Fairview school became available and Ruth was able to move closer to home and teach in the same school she had attended as a child, earning $60 per month. Some of the children in her classroom had the last name of Goldsmith and they often teased that Miss Ruth had a very tidy blackboard as she cleaned it often making sure to shake the cleaning rag outside whenever she heard their cousin Earl’s tractor go by. Ruth gave up her teaching career when she and Earl were married in December, 1944. The young couple, along with Earl’s parents, immediately began farming in the Brooks and Nodaway area, remaining there their entire married life. To this union, three children were born: Gordon Earl, Helen Ruth and Kathryn Anne. Ruth raised chickens and sold farm fresh eggs to many around the community. She raised a large orchard and vegetable garden, canning and freezing the fruits of her labor. Her hospitality, delicious and bountiful meals were loved and appreciated by family, friends and hired farmhands. Ruth was active in the Nodaway United Methodist Church where she was a Sunday School and Bible School teacher, a member of the UMW, Women’s Circle, and maker of ham balls, pies and other delicious dishes for the Nodaway Church and community events. Ruth was a member of BB Club, served as a Cub Scout Den Mother, Band Mother, Loyal Lassies 4-H Club leader and all around taxi driver not only for her own children but several other members of the community. Ruth was a recipient of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and Omaha World Herald Good Neighbor Award and together Earl and Ruth were named to the State 4-H Hall of Fame. Ruth devoted her life to her family and her church. She was a member of the Nodaway United Methodist Church until it’s closing in 2015, then transferred her membership to the church she’d been attending since moving to town, Corning First Presbyterian Church. As a proud grandmother of four and great grandmother of eleven, she was ever ready to read a book, pitch a ball, or count kids toes; somehow always coming up with a couple of extra digits! Creative thinking and playing make-believe was so strongly encouraged by Grandma Ruth that occasionally she was even referred to as the “Pretend Grandma”! After 62 years on the farm, Ruth moved to Corning. Here she developed close friendships with her Westgate neighbors where the door was always open and conversation and refreshments were readily available. Ruth’s final years were spent at Corning Specialty Care where again new friendships were formed with both staff and residents for Ruth had the gift of being happy wherever God placed her. Her biggest gifts to her family, were finding joy in the simple things in life, good in everyone, and unconditional love and support.
Left to cherish Ruth’s memory are her children, Dr. Gordon Goldsmith (Sara Henryson), Helen (Todd) Gustafson, and Kathy (Ken) Pangburn; her grandchildren and great grandchildren, Trevor (Erin) Gustafson, Eve, Elle and Emery; Andrew (Stacie) Gustafson, Alex, Drew, and Reese; Connie (Jim) Cecil, Ethan and Caitlin Ruth; and Rob (Chelsey) Pangburn, Parker, Natalie and Mitchell.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Earl in 1991, parents Henry and Jennie Mitchell, older sister and brother-in-law Lucille and John Thomas, older brother and sister-in-law, Warren and Lois Mitchell, parents-in-law Edward and Flossie Goldsmith and brother-in-law and sister-in-law Olin and Eleanor Goldsmith.
May God’s comfort and strength be with those who mourn.