Ruth Gess, 93Ruth A. Gess, 93, Alexandria, died October 25, 2010 at Diamond Willow advanced care facility.
Ruth A. Gess, 93, Alexandria, died October 25, 2010 at Diamond Willow advanced care facility.
Ruth was born April 5, 1917 to Ray and Myrtle Bradley at Brookdale, Manitoba, Canada. Her father, a bank manager, died while Ruth was in her teens. Her business college training in secretarial work enabled her to be the main support for her mother and two sisters for nearly seven years.
Ruth graduated as a registered nurse from the Winnipeg General Hospital in 1945. On December 29, 1945, she was united in marriage with Lowell A. Gess.
Following her husband’s completion of seminary and medical schooling, she and her husband were commissioned as medical missionaries at Calvary Evangelical Church in St. Paul on November 18, 1952. They served as missionaries with Evangelical United Brethren Church in Nigeria from l952-1955 and then in Sierra Leone with the merged United Methodist Church until 1975, except for a five year leave of absence in Bismarck, North Dakota.
After retirement from the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, the family made their home in Alexandria. With the founding of the Kissy UMC Eye Hospital, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Africa, in 1982, Ruth was in a managerial role for over a decade. Missionary service in Africa continued until the last several years during which she participated in many voluntary missionary tours to Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Honduras. Her last trip to the Kissy UMC Eye Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Africa, was in the fall of 2004, which was her 162nd ocean crossing.
Ruth is survived by her husband, Lowell; children, Timothy (Joanne) of Alexandria, Mary (Stephen) of Plymouth, Elizabeth (Robert) of Anchorage, Alaska, John (Ruth) of Alexandria, Paul (Arlet) of Seattle, Washington, and Andrew (Carrie) of Andover; 18 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Myrtle Bradley; and younger sisters, Irene and Beverly, who passed away in 2009.
A memorial service will be held at Alexandria United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 30 at 11 a.m. with Pastor Jeff Hansen officiating. The Rev. John Praetorius of Grace UMC in St. Cloud will be the guest preacher. Committal services will be at Salem Cemetery in Paynesville at 3 p.m.
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