Ruth F. Koepke, 92, of Fairfield Glade, TN, formerly Plymouth, MI, died Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at Good Samaritan Society. Ruth was born May 8, 1922 in Ceylon, Minnesota, to Paul (an immigrant from Germany) and Bertha Beck Franzenburg (widowed mother of three, James, Hubert and Maxine Watkins Paisley). Paul and Bertha had five children: Paul Jr., Jean (Belz), Ruth, Wilhemina “Billie” (Katzenmeyer) and Collyn (Schmidt). Collyn of Lookout Mountain, Ga.,
survives Ruth. At the age of 16, Ruth experienced the untimely death of her mother.
The Franzenburgs settled in Conrad, Iowa after many moves during the Great Depression. Ruth was a 1939 graduate of Conrad High School, and 1943 graduate of University of Iowa. Ruth enlisted in the United States Army and served her country during World War II as a physical therapist. She received her training at Army-Navy General Hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas and was assigned, as a Second Lieutenant, to Mayo General Hospital in Galesburg, Illinois where
she met her husband and dancing partner of 69 years, Russell Charles Koepke of Chicago, Illinois.
After 4 months of courtship, Ruth and Russ were married March 17, 1945. Russ, 97, survives his wife, Ruth. Following their discharge from the Army, they relocated to Chicago, Illinois and had eight children – Paula, San Francisco, CA, Peter (Mhairi) Cold Spring, NY, Thomas (Deborah), Stanton, MI, William (died 2010), Jane Cartwright (Jack) Seaside, OR , Kathryn (John Osburn),
Portland, OR, Elizabeth Jamo (James) East Lansing, MI, Christopher (Elizabeth Clark) Eldersburg, MD and grandchildren Elena, Cristina, Ross, Benjamin, Jaclyn, Katie Jane, Claire, Maya and Gavin. Ruth (Granny) is remembered as a strong, dependable, loving, warm, caring, and courageousindividual. She was wonderfully calm and practical during their children’s developmental years and fostered independence. She listened intently, was a great conversationalist and cherished
heartfelt giggles. She loved the joy of music. Ruth and Russ welcomed many into their home. She loved connecting people from all walks of life. Russ once wrote, “Ruth is a mountain of support and with her warmth, charm and out stretched arms she has conquered all.”
Ruth and Russ enjoyed dancing, worldwide travels, community service, vacationing at Torch Lake and spending time with family and friends. While living in Plymouth, MI, Ruth was awarded the Ford Citizen of the Year in 1966 for her outstanding civic service by serving the community working with the Girl Scouts, providing leadership as the Vice President of the Christian Family Movement, promoting and advocating for civil rights as a member of the
Assembly for Human Relations, supporting and campaigning member of the Democratic Party, canvassing for the Mothers’ March of Dimes, participating in the University Women’s Club, and serving as a Eucharistic Minister in the Catholic Church. She was also very active with a foreign exchange student program by becoming a host family for several students. Years later, she
received Tennessee Titans Quarterback Award for her many years of service to Hospice of Cumberland County. Ruth was also employed as a physical therapist and provided therapy to many children with developmental and physical disabilities in Michigan through various schooldistricts and programs.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 15th at 11:00 a.m., at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 7503 Peavine Road, Fairfield Glade, TN 38558. Memorial Contributions in Ruth’s memory may be made to Hospice of Cumberland County or Southern Poverty Law Center. A luncheon has been planned at the church following the committal service in St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church columbarium. The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff
of the Good Samaritan Society, Fairfield Glade, TN for their outstanding care.
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Address and Websites for Memorial Donations
Hospice of Cumberland County Southern Poverty Law Center
30 E Adams St. 400 Washington Ave.
Crossville, TN 38555 Montgomery, AL 36104