Ruth Louise (Ekstrom) Van Arsdale

February 4, 1927 ~ September 20, 2021 (age 94)


Ruth Louise Van Arsdale, 94, of Wichita, Kansas, passed away September 20, 2021, at her duplex apartment on the Prairie Homestead Senior Living campus. She was born on February 4, 1927, to Oscar and Minnie (Nelson) Ekstrom, in Iron Mountain, Michigan. They later moved to Grantsburg, Wisconsin, where she graduated from high school in 1945, afterward attending Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for two years. She transferred to the University of Minnesota, graduating with honors in 1949 with a degree in English and Speech Education. In August of 1949, Ruth was married to Herman W. Van Arsdale, then a student at Bethel Seminary. They served churches in Dell Rapids, South Dakota, and in Raymond, Eureka, Fort Scott, Salina, and Great Bend, Kansas. She earned a Master of Education in teaching from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Ruth was inducted into Phi Delta Kappa at the university and was also active in NEA, KNEA, Delta Kappa Gamma, NCTE and KATE. She was active in churches they served, most often as a pianist, and as a teacher for children, youth, and adults. She strongly promoted Bible reading, urging people to read with understanding. To facilitate this, she wrote articles introducing the Bible Book of the Month for both the American Baptist Churches of the Central Region (ABCCR) and her local church. Her most difficult writing was an article “The Long Winter” published in New Covenant magazine. It recounted her recovery from the sudden death of their seventeen-year-old daughter, Deborah. As a teacher she led workshops on teaching English for KATE and NCTE conferences and published articles as well. For twenty years she wrote high school level literary analysis study guides, focusing on a single literary work each year, for the Center for Learning in Rocky River, Ohio and published by Wm. C. Brown Co. of Dubuque, Iowa. Ruth was a member of the First Baptist Church, Wichita, where she taught Sunday School classes and participated in many of the activities of the Chinese fellowship. She lived at Prairie Homestead, where she led a Bible Study group and played piano for many occasions. For fifty-three years she was the wife of a minister, who served several congregations and held many offices in the ABCCR. She taught English in the high schools of all but one of the places where they lived and served as treasurer and then the president of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English as well as on the board of the National Council of Teachers of English. In her local ABW she was the secretary and in the past has served as an association Personal Development Coordinator and also as the President. She has been the Recording Secretary for the American Baptist Women’s Ministry of the Central Region. Her greatest longing was to live close to the Lord, learn to pray, and lead others to find the joy and peace in a close relationship to the Lord. She is survived by her son, Paul Van Arsdale, and his wife, Lalita “Beni” Van Arsdale of Long Beach, California, and two sisters, Kathryn of Rock Island, Illinois and Edith of Leawood, Kansas. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, husband Herman, daughter Deborah Ruth, brother George and sister Marie. A graveside service will be held at 2:00 P.M., Friday, September 24, 2021, at the Geneseo Cemetery, Geneseo, Kansas. A memorial service is scheduled for 1:30 P.M. Saturday, September 25, 2021 at the Prairie Homestead chapel. Rev. San Jittawait will officiate both services. Memorials may by given to the University Baptist Church of Long Beach (for the Sunshine Home dormitory for at-risk teenage girls in Chiang Rai, Thailand) in care of Birzer Funeral Home, Lyons.

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Graveside Service
September 24, 2021

2:00 PM
Geneseo Cemetery

Geneseo, Kansas 67444

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