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Ruth Rekedal, 82

Ruth Rekedal, age 82, of Peoria, Ariz. and formerly of Howard Lake, died Friday, March 5, 2004, at her home in Freedom Plaza.

She was born in Wallingford, Iowa, Aug. 3, 1921, the daughter of Otis and Rose Knutson Jorstad. She was confirmed at Wallingford Lutheran Church. Ruth’s talent in music was evident at a young age, becoming the church organist when she was 14.

Ruth attended St. Olaf College and the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1942 with a degree in music and education.

She married Robert S. Rekedal in 1943, and after his service in World War II, they moved to North Dakota, where he completed his pharmacy degree.

In 1948, they moved to Howard Lake, where Ruth served as the choir director and organist at St. John’s Lutheran in Howard Lake for the next 30 years, and was an inspiration to generations of young people.

Ruth taught elementary school music and high school humanities, and brought many special extracurricular activities in music, theatre, and the spoken arts to the Howard Lake and Dassel-Cokato school systems.

She was a devoted daughter, mother, grandmother, teacher, musician and friend. In 1976, her work was recognized and honored by a nomination for Minnesota Teacher of the Year.

She touched the lives of many people of all ages across the world, and was a prolific letter writer, keeping in touch with many of them over the years. She often spoke of someday collecting her memoirs in a book, a remarkable project that was completed in 1999, and published to her family in a 425-page volume entitled “Living the Dream.”

In retirement, Ruth and Bob settled in Bella Vista, Ark., in 1980. She continued her work as music director, choir director, and organist at United Lutheran Church in Bella Vista, furthering her organ studies at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Ruth and Bob loved traveling, and for many years in retirement, they traveled both internationally and around the country with a large fifth-wheel trailer, visiting friends and family and maintaining their network of relationships.

In 1995, Ruth and Bob moved to Sun City, Ariz., where Ruth continued her life of service in the church and community through active involvement with many organizations providing direct help to those less fortunate.

Ruth is survived by her husband, Robert; her daughter, Jane Rekedal and husband Seth Capron of Aromas, Calif.; her son, Steven and wife Mary Jo of Austin, Texas; her son, Kirby and wife Susan of Little Silver, N.J., seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place Friday, March 19, 10 a.m., at American Lutheran Church, Del Webb and 107th Avenue, Sun City, Ariz., 85373.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to a memorial fund in Ruth’s name, care of the American Lutheran Church in Sun City.

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