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Ruth Nielsen Ollgaard Jensen was called home by her Heavenly Father on January 29, 2024 at the age of 101. Ruth died peacefully surrounded by family at Maple Heights Nursing Home in Mapleton, IA where she had resided since 2014.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 A.M., Monday, February 5, 2024, at Soldier Lutheran Church, Soldier, Iowa, with Pastor Paul Coen, officiating. A live stream will be posted on the Goslar Funeral Home website with Ruth’s obituary. Burial will follow in the Jordan Township Cemetery, rural Soldier, Iowa. A visitation will be 3:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. Sunday, February 4, 2024, at the Soldier Lutheran Church, with a prayer service at 5:00 P.M. with Pastor Jason Cooper, Ruth’s grandson, officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Goslar Funeral Home and Monuments, Onawa, Iowa.
Ruth was born in Tyler, MN, October 10, 1922, the youngest of two children. She and her brother Verner lived with her mother Margrethe Ollgaard in her maternal grandparents’ home. Her father Johannes died October 1924 when Ruth was two. He served in World War I leaving from Soldier to complete his tour of duty.
Ruth began her elementary years of schooling at Danebod Parochial School for children of Danish immigrants. Half of the day was taught in Danish and the other half in English. In 1940, Ruth graduated from Tyler High School and went on to attend Grand View College in Des Moines, IA. At the time, Grand View was only a junior college and was attended primarily by students of Danish heritage.
Upon receiving her elementary teaching degree, Ruth took her first teaching job at a Jordan Township Country School where she taught grades 1-8. Ruth often commented that it was a challenge to give each child the quality time they needed when you were responsible for teaching all grade levels. After her first year of teaching, Ruth went on to teach lower elementary students in both the Soldier and Moorhead school districts.
While teaching, Ruth began corresponding with Wilbur Jensen who was serving in the Pacific during World War II. Because of her faithfulness in writing, Wilbur’s military chaplain informed him that he needed to “go home and marry that girl.” On July 8, 1946, Wilbur married Ruth at the Danebod Lutheran Church in Tyler, MN. Four children were born to this union: Marilyn, Leonard, Paul, and Mary. Later ten grandchildren joined the family, followed by twenty-seven great-grandchildren.
Ruth and Wilbur made their first home near Turin, IA where Ruth was a homemaker as well as Wilbur’s helpmate as they made their living farming. They later moved to Jordan Township where they resided until 1979 when they moved into their new home in Soldier. They lived there until they both moved to Maple Heights in 2014.
Family time has always been a priority for the Jensen family, and Ruth took great pride in each and every member of the family. She couldn’t go anywhere without doing a little bragging and sharing family pictures. The family always enjoyed Grandma’s skills in the kitchen especially her expertise in making homemade pies and according to her children and grandchildren, “no one could make a pie crust like Grandma.” She always seemed to bake everyone’s favorite when the family gathered. She could roll out paper-thin Danish cookies for the holidays as well as pastries that melted in your mouth. Aebleskivers, Danish pancakes, were another of her specialties.
In her spare time, Ruth loved to do handwork making numerous cross-stitch pictures for her family and friends. Making afghans was another of her trademarks having made 105 of just one pattern plus many other patterns as well. Ruth would give them to family and friends for special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, births, and at times of illness.
Ruth was a member of Soldier Lutheran Church and WELCA having held several offices over the years. Ruth taught Sunday School and served as financial secretary for the congregation.
Survivors include her children Marilyn and Bruce Jepson of Glidden, Leonard and Patty (Gran) Jensen of Soldier, Paul and Stacy (Sneller) Jensen of Sergeant Bluff, and Mary and Rick Davis of Castana, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren Jason Cooper and children Maia (Russell) Romero, Jensen, and Evan; Michael and Jenn (Little) Jepson and children Landon, Kendall, and Ledger; Darin and Cheri (Jensen) Blair and children Kyra, Kyson, Jacob, Adah, Ziv, and Aria; Shawn and Kristie (Jensen) Neddermeyer and children Kamren, Braden, and Brooklyn; Melissa Jepson; Seth and Anya (Jepson)Sibunka and children Henry and Isaac; Rian and Emily (Jensen) Merrigan and children Rory and Reece; Jamie and Audrey (Jensen) Dean and children Aylah, Monroe, Braylon and Jaxon; Justin Davis and Angie Heiden and children Jaxson, Adyson, and Averly; Jacob and Shelby (Flammang) Davis and daughter Hallie; and nieces and nephews.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Wilbur: parents, Johannes and Margrethe (Nielsen) Ollgaard; her husband’s parents, Jens and Carrie (Madisen) Jensen; granddaughter Amy (Jensen) Cooper; great-granddaughter, Avery Davis; her brother Verner and his wife Doris (Wilmers) Ollgaard ; her brothers and sisters-in-law: Milford and Viola (Jensen)Hanson; Robert and Edna (Christiansen) Jensen, Russell and Betty (Vallers) Jensen, Lola Jensen, nephew Larry Hanson, and niece Jennifer (Jensen) Richardson.
Condolences may be left online for the family at www.goslarfuneralhome.com