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Ruth Bertena Harper

Ruth Bertena Harper

Ruth Bertena Harper (ne Wiklund) died peacefully on August 22, 2017, at the age of 96. Ruth was born and raised in Virginia, MN and graduated from Virginia High School in 1939. While working as a telephone operator on December 7, 1941, Ruth knew something huge had happened because her telephone connection board completely lit up--Pearl Harbor had been bombed. During WWII she worked at Boeing Aircraft in Wichita, KS and the Ford plant in St. Paul, MN. In 1945, she went to Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul for nurse's training under the Cadet Nurse Corps and graduated with a R.N. degree. Ruth was a member of Lutheran Church of Holy Trinity in Duluth for five years and then moved to Morgan Park. There, she joined the United Protestant Church, where she remained a member until her death. In 1947, Ruth married H. James (Jim) Harper, who practiced law in Duluth MN. They were blessed with four children and were active in their community. Ruth and Jim enjoyed their seven grandchildren and welcomed foreign exchange students (AFS) into their home. Ruth enjoyed creating a loving home and was known for her wonderful baking, cooking, and canning skills. She was an excellent bridge player and was an active member in the Morgan Park Bridge club. Ruth was a volunteer driver for Outlook Club for over 45 years, was the President of the Women's Fellow Club at the United Protestant Church, and a member of Sara's Circle. Ruth was a charter and active member of Chapter DD of the PEO Sisterhood. She belonged to the Order of Eastern Star, Euclid Chapter. In 1962, Ruth began working in the infirmary of U.S. Steel in Morgan Park. She also worked during the summers at Nopeming nursing home. Ruth and Jim enjoyed their many travels abroad, maintaining their family ties to their AFS students. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents John and Bertena Wiklund; her husband Jim in December 2004; four brothers Floyd, Bernard (Barney), Myron, and Richard (Dick) Wiklund and her sister Viola Ruud. Ruth also lost her beloved daughter Susan in 2014. She is survived by her children William (Trudy) of Afton MN, Louise (Ken) Wills of Cleveland Heights, OH and Betsy (Jeff Oman) of Minneapolis; her brother Clifford (Mickey) Wiklund of Duluth; her grandchildren: Veronica (Trenton), Justine, Elliot, Dana, Anastasia, Ben, Alice; and great-grandchildren Harper and Eleanor, in addition to many nieces and nephews. Ruth will also be missed by her AFS student Miguel Conde-Jimez (Spain), Mauritzio Moris (Antonella) Italy, Diane Hicks Bendall (Australia) and Cathy Martens (Belgium). Ruth's family would like to thank the wonderful aides and nurses at Presbyterian Homes of Bloomington and the kind hospice workers from Optage. Visitation Friday, September 1st at 10:00 A.M with funeral service at 11:00 A.M. at United Protestant Church in Morgan Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to United Protestant Church of Morgan Park. Please leave a memory of Ruth or words of support for her family at