RUTH KOIVISTO DE YOUNGRuth Verna Koivisto De Young died in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Ruth Verna Koivisto De Young died in Grand Rapids, Mich., on March 14, 2012 after 11 year struggle with Alzheimer's Disease.
Ruth was born near Kettle River, Minn., in 1933, the daughter of Finnish immigrants, Kalle (Charles) and Varma Makinen Koivisto.
She attended Kalevala Elementary School and graduated from Barnum High School in 1951. She worked at Travelers Insurance Company in Duluth before marrying Kenneth De Young of Michigan in 1955. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1961, and lived in Hermantown, Minn., from 1962 to 1970, while Ken taught at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Ruth served for several years on the Hermantown School Board, and was an officer in the UMD Faculty Wives Club. She also took many graduate classes at UMD because of her own love of learning.
Ruth and her family moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1970, where Ruth worked for 10 years as an executive secretary at Bissell, Inc., and in middle management at Steelcase, Inc., for 20 years.
Ruth's passion was her Finnish ancestry, and she made many trips to Finland to study modern Finnish language and culture, and to visit relatives there. She founded and for 17 years was president of the West Michigan Finnish American Society. She founded and for 10 years was president of SISU, an organization which put on week-long seminars in modern finnish at UMD, attacting students from all over the country.
Ruth is survived by her husband, Kenneth N. De Young, PhD; four children, Jeff De Young, Jeanine Olund, PhD, Anna De Young, MD and Mark De Young; five grandchildren, Sam and Ben Owens and Eva, Kate and Norah De Young; cousin, Violet Heiskeri of Moose Lake; many cousins in Finland and dear friend Armas Tamminen of Duluth.
MEMORIAL SERVICE: was held in the United Methodist Church in Marne, Mich., on March 18, 2012. Ruth's remains were cremated and her ashes spread on the pond at the Kettle River family farm where Ken now lives. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimers' Association. Funeral arrangements were by Memorial Alternatives of Grand Rapids, Mich.
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