Ruth Adele (Whittles) Neumann, 99, died March 16, 2020. She was preceded in death by her husband of 70 years Clifford, granddaughter Kelsey, sister Geraldine Clare and brother Jack Whittles. She is survived by son Frank (Gwendolyn), daughter Jean Evans (Ron Melander), four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, brother William Whittles and sister-in-law Ruth Whittles.

Born in 1921, Ruth lived her entire life within blocks of where she grew up in the Como Park area. She graduated from Washington High School at the top of her class. An athlete, she enjoyed speed skating on Como Lake, tennis, swimming and sailing. She married her sweetheart Cliff in 1939. Together, they lived a full life, devoted to family, determined to provide advantages not afforded to themselves.

Ruth was committed to community service and volunteerism well into her 90s, most notably more than 30 years as volunteer at Bethesda Care Center.

At home, Ruth sewed denim tote bags for wheelchairs. In recent years, she fashioned pillow covers for patients with head injuries. Ruth was a valued temp employee during tax season at the IRS.

She was in a weekly bowling league until age 87, quitting only when the lanes were torn down. She was a regular at water aerobics at the Eastside YMCA until age 97. A patient instructor, many a friend and youngster remember learning to water-ski on the St. Croix River with Cliff at the wheel and Ruth coaching on shore.

She was a wonderful seamstress, upholsterer and knitter. Many learned to knit and purl under her tutelage. Countless infants have worn her layettes and signature booties with pink or blue trim, the ones that couldn’t be kicked off. Her sweaters were treasured. Dresses, alterations, draperies, upholstery, all were expertly sewn.

There were no better neighbors than Ruth and Cliff on West Cottage Avenue where they lived for 62 years. 

Ruth lived her last year of life at Sunrise Assisted Living in Roseville where she could often be found at the community jigsaw puzzle table. Her family offers special thanks to the caring and compassionate Sunrise staff, who Ruth loved and appreciated.

At age 16, in an English class assignment entitled Autobiography, Ruth wrote, “How can the life of a seemingly ordinary person like me be interesting? I am not very old and haven’t really lived…I hope I may someday create one perfect piece of work to contribute as a reminder of my existence.” That wish was fulfilled not by one, but by countless contributions to the health and welfare of others. A celebration of life will take place at a later date.

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