Ruth Hoffman, 96

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ruth H. Hoffman, 96, passed away peacefully on Sunday, June 6, 2010, at Medicalodge in Dewey, Okla. She had resided in neighboring Bartlesville, Okla., the last 16 years after moving from Minot, N.D., to be near her daughter, Amelia.
Ruth A. Hannah was born Dec. 29, 1913, near Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, to John R. and Zylpha A. (Byers) Hannah. She was reared on the family farm and graduated from Mt. Pleasant High School and attended Des Moines Business College. She received an honorary bachelor of arts degree in botany in 2002 from Minot State University.
On Aug. 15, 1936, Ruth was united in marriage to Charles A.F. Hoffman at the Hannah home. They made their home in Minot for more than 57 years while they raised their family of three daughters and Charles taught science at Minot State University until his retirement in 1975. Her husband Charles died on June 4, 1994.
Ruth was devoted to service to the Minot community. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Minot, and active in Presbyterian Women. She was instrumental in establishing the USO Club in Minot in the early 1960s. Ruth was a lifelong learner, loved books and was an avid volunteer for Minot Public Library. She was a Girl Scout leader, contributing her vast knowledge of plants and their uses to many Day Camp sessions. Her lovely corner-lot garden was always open to anyone who enjoyed flowers and she made friends of those who stopped by to see its colorful beauty; they seldom left without an armful of blossoms or sack full of fresh vegetables, plus information on composting and gardening organically. Ruth knew the name of every flower in her garden and its use and developed a passion for photographing each variety, which led to her unprecedented photo essay of the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, from conception through chrysalis through final flight, done over a period of 20 years with pictures taken of the monarchs on the milkweeds in her own garden. Slides she had taken all over North Dakota over a 30 year period of hundreds of different native plants that had been used by Native Americans as medicines are in the photo archives of the InMed program of the University of North Dakota, the most complete record of those plants showing what each looked like as seedlings, in bloom and in the ripe seed stages. Copies of those same slides are also a part of the botany classes at Minot State University. She was a longtime member of the Minot Camera Club, winning many top honors for her photos. Ruth also contributed the majority of the slides in the North Dakota History Project, which was a part of the elementary school state history curriculum in every public school in the state. She was very creative in other ways, as the many lovely garments she made for her family and delicious meals she prepared attested.
Ruth is survived by two daughters, Sara Aeikens (Leo) of Albert Lea and Amelia Nash of Bartlesville, Okla.; three grandchildren, David Aeikens of St Cloud, Rachel Mason (Rob) of Norman, Okla., and Melodie Nash of Bartlesville, Okla.; one great-granddaughter, Miriana Mason of Norman; one sister, Marcia Cammack (Dale) of Mt. Pleasant; sister-in-law Gladys Minear of Guilford, Conn.; and many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Charles; one daughter, Mary Sue; son-in-law, Larry Nash; two sisters; and two brothers.
A memorial service celebrating her life was held at 10 a.m. June 10 at the chapel of Green Country Village. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Ruth and Charles Hoffman Botanical Scholarship, Minot State University, 500 University Ave. W., Minot, ND 58707.

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