Ruth D. Bartling, 91, passed away Wednesday, November 17th, surrounded by her loving family. A pillar of strength and compassion, Ruth was treasured by her family, friends, and community for her unwavering faith and profound appreciation for life.
She was born February 27, 1930 in Falls City, Nebraska, the first of six children of parents Erna and Ernest Tiemann. She grew up in Pueblo, Colorado, attended Indiana University, and moved to Austin, Texas where she met Frederick Bartling, a vicar at her family's church. Married on December 27, 1952, Ruth and Fred became essential partners in teaching and ministry, establishing and serving churches in Washington and Alabama. The couple settled in St. Paul when Fred joined the faculty at Concordia Academy (now Concordia University).
Ruth believed God’s work on earth was truly her own; she raised six children, instilling in them the values of hard work, education, arts, culture, and friendship. Each night the family gathered for her home-cooked meals and to share the day’s stories.
As her last children entered school, Ruth studied at the U of M and earned her bachelor’s degree. She was an administrator for a university, a foundation, a small business, and the State of Minnesota, concluding at Volunteer Services for the Department of Natural Resources. She then founded the Bridal Emporium, a wedding gown consignment shop, fulfilling a dream to own her own business.
Ruth's talents and energy were an asset to civic and church organizations. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters, first female board member of the Midway YMCA, helped found the Concordia retiree group, and volunteered at the Minnesota Historical Society. Her service within the church included creating an Evensong service at Jehovah Lutheran, and serving as President of a women’s group and welcoming new members at Gloria Dei where she was a member since 1995.
Ruth was a gatherer of people and a masterful entertainer. Known as the “Social Director” among her friends, she hosted holiday dinners for 25, faculty backyard picnics, and always kept the door open for her children’s friends. For over two decades, she brought together her children and their families each August at a resort where joy-filled days were spent in laughter, conversation, deepening relationships, and playing her favorite game, charades.
Ruth's pragmatism and strong sense of justice made her a powerful ally; her intuitive understanding of encouraging others and clear vision of how people could be good graced her with advocacy skills ahead of her time.
She was a joy-maker, creator, innovator -- a faith leader who was a thoughtful example of the hands and feet of Christ. Like Mary, her life was a refrain of “My soul doth magnify the Lord for he hath done wonderful things for me.”
She will be dearly missed by her husband and sweetheart, Fred, of 70 years; children Victoria Bartling, Frederick (Sue) Bartling, Catherine (Brian) Quinlivan, Elizabeth (Michael) Taylor, Anastasia (Charlie) Pydych, Stephanie Bartling (Gary Engelhardt); beloved grandchildren Joanna, Jordan, Ian, Andrew, Carmen, Paige, Garrett, Austin, Evan, Ava, Walter, William, and Lucia; cherished sisters, Esther Rowley (Glenn) and Sharon Bayer (Jon), sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Fred and Ruth Bartling Scholarship at Concordia University, St. Paul, MN (one.csp.edu/memorials) or Gloria Dei Endowment Fund.
A celebration of Ruth's life will be held at a later date.
The family is grateful for the loving care Ruth received by the staff at Pillars of Highland Park.
To send flowers to Ruth's family, please visit our floral store.