Ruth O. Robertson 1923-2012

Posted October 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Ruth Robertson, 89, of Miller, S.D., died Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 at the Highmore Health, Highmore, S.D.

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Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the First Presbyterian Church, Miller with the Rev. Brian Jones officiating. Burial will follow at Sunbeam Cemetery, rural Miller. Visitation will be 5:30 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, October 9, 2012 with a 7 p.m. prayer service, all at Reck Funeral Home, Miller.

Ruth Olive Ashdown Robertson was born on March 7, 1923, near Highmore, S.D. to Walter and Sadie (Hale) Ashdown. She was raised there on her family’s farm. She graduated from Highmore High School and attended the Aberdeen School of Business as a recipient of a P.E.O. Educational Loan. She returned to Highmore and was employed at Barnes and Gray Abstract Company and the First State Bank of Highmore.

On June 20, 1946, she was married to William Robertson. They made their home on a farm in Holden Township in Hand County. Bill and Ruth were the parents of two children, John and Margaret. Bill was killed in a truck accident on September 14, 1950. Ruth began working as a secretary at Miller High School in 1967. She retired in May 1991 with many happy memories.

Always a busy volunteer, Ruth was a member of Sunbeam Church from 1946-1972 and of Wheaton Church from 1972 until its closure in 2005. She served as Sunday school superintendent and teacher, president of Women’s Fellowship, and was a member of the Sunbeam Ladies Aid. She was a member of the Board of Directors for the South Dakota State Conference of the United Church of Christ, Moderator and Registrar of the Prairie Lakes Association of the UCC and a state president of Church Women United. She worked as a volunteer at Placerville Camp in the Black Hills for several summers and attended family camp for many years, first with her children and later with her granddaughters.

Ruth was a 67-year member of the P.E.O. sisterhood. A member of Chapter AK of Miller, she served as president nine different years. She was elected to the Executive Board of the South Dakota chapter in 1983 and served all seven offices. She was State President of P.E.O. in 1989-90 and was a member of Fidelis Circle. She particularly credited P.E.O. with funding her education and loved supporting that opportunity for others.

Preserving history was one of Ruth’s passions and her detailed research and compilation of family genealogy. A member of the Hand County Historical Society, she served on the Hand County State Centennial Steering Committee and the South Dakota Bicentennial Commission. She was a member of the Board of Directors for the Huron Concert Association and treasurer of the Miller AFS chapter. She did fundraising for Easter Seals and the American Heart Association. She loved reading with kids for the Reading is Fun – RIF program in the Miller Schools.

In honor of her many volunteer contributions; she was a 1995 nominee for the Spirit of Dakota award, which honors leadership in social, cultural and educational advancement.

Ruth was her granddaughters’ biggest fan and rarely missed a performance, event or recital. She loved photography and corresponding with her many friends and family members. She was always working on a needlework project, mostly gifts to be given, including quilting, crewelwork, embroidery and needlepoint. Her delicate crocheted snowflakes were lovingly made and sent around the globe.

She moved to Highmore Health in 2009 and lived there until her death on October 5, 2012, at the age of 89 years.

Ruth will be lovingly remembered by her son, John and his wife Carol of Sioux Falls, and daughter, Margaret Meek and her husband Rick of Rapid City; three granddaughters, Molly Golla and her husband Nate of Luverne, Minn.; Kate Bartel and her husband Rev. Andy of Milbank; and Megan Robertson of the Western wilderness; four great-grandchildren: Jackson and Josephine Golla and James and Angus Bartel; her sister, Ethel Gusaas of Valley City, N.D.; brothers, Carl Ashdown and his wife Lily, and Leslie Ashdown and his wife Elaine, all of Highmore; and sister-in-law, Lois Robertson of St. Lawrence, S.D.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; her parents, Walter and Sadie Ashdown; her brothers, Hugh and Glen; sister-in-law, Nola; and brothers-in law: Milford Gusaas and Bob Robertson.

In lieu of flowers, memorials will be used for a scholarship in Ruth’s memory.

Reck Funeral Home of Miller has been entrusted with Ruth’s arrangements. Visit

Paid obituary

Ruth O. Robertson 1923-2012