Ruth Margaret Carlson Summerside was born March 30, 1925, in Finley, N.D., the daughter of John and Valdine (Williams) Carlson. Ruth was baptized and confirmed in the Finley Lutheran Church and graduated from Finley High School. She then went to work for the U.S. Army in Seattle for one year.
In 1944, Ruth entered Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn, where she worked in the business office, majored in business education and was an alto II in the Concordia Choir under Paul J. Christiansen for three years. Her rich voice was valued in church choirs wherever she taught or lived and was the model her husband used for his own choir's alto sections. Ruth sang with the Austin Choralaires on their Midwest concerts and on their trip to the Wales Competition in 1960.
Her teaching career began in Monticello, Minn., then Breckenridge, Minn., and as a result of her graduate work at the University of Denver, she was called to teach business education at Luther College.
In 1955 she married Frank N. Summerside who she had met when both were counselors at the Lutheran Welfare Camp in Nyack, N.Y. They first lived in Virginia, Minn., Portales, N.M., where both were on the faculty of Eastern New Mexico University and then in Austin, Minn.
In 1963 they moved to Le Mars, where Frank was on the faculty of Westmar College. Ruth later taught business education for Westmar and also taught business subjects at Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic High Schools. Ruth worked as the receptionist/secretary afternoons at KLEM radio station after her morning teaching at Gehlen.
Throughout her life she was a willing volunteer, having served as the co-chair for the drive that ultimately led to the passing of the bond issue for the building of the Le Mars Community Junior High, now Middle School. She was active over the years in the work of St. John's Lutheran, Presbyterian United Church of Christ and was a District Officer for the ALCW at one time. Until her death, she was still an active worker for the Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary.
Ruth was a charter member of P.E.O chapter NQ and was actively engaged in the AAUW chapter until it was dissolved.
Westmar Women also saw her as an active leader and participant in their projects and interest groups.
At St. John's Lutheran she was presently in the Quilting group, Circle and WELCA, and locally in a number of bridge clubs. Wherever she was involved, her Norwegian baking was a staple in the diets of the groups where she or Frank were members.
Her passion for sports saw her at LCHS basketball games each winter and found her glued to basketball and baseball games on television.
Survivors are her husband Frank of Le Mars; children: Nathan of Le Mars, Paul (Margaret) of De Pere, Wis., and Joan (Matt) Mesnik of Golden Valley, Minn.; grandchildren Erik, Jordan, Mark and Meg Summerside, Darnell Clark, Abby and Ellen Mesnik; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Orlando and Ernest; and sisters, Alice, Myrtle and Verna.
A memorial service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. John's Lutheran Church in Le Mars. The Rev. Greg Gabriel will officiate. Inurnment will follow at Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today (Friday) at the Mauer - Johnson Funeral Home of Le Mars. The family will be present to greet friends from 6-8 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to the service on Saturday.
Memorials may be directed to St. John's Lutheran Church, Le Mars; Concordia College in Morehead, Minn., and the Floyd Valley Hospital Auxiliary.
Stories, memories and expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com.