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Ruthie Bierwagen


August 22, 2019

Ruthie Luella McKenzie Bierwagen was born on August 14, 1940 in Sandpoint, Idaho. She was pre-deceased by her parents Clarence Felix McKenzie and Ella Joye Roe McKenzie and the love of her life Gordon Bierwagen. She is survived by her brother, Ervin McKenzie of Anchorage, Alaska, and sisters Carol Hopkins of Clarkston, Washington, and Linda Arnzen of Cottonwood, Idaho. She is also survived by her sons Tony (Lynn) Bierwagen of Thompson Falls, Montana and Rick (Susan) Bierwagen of Acton, Massachusetts; grandchildren Cadi Bierwagen of Sarasota, Florida, Will Bierwagen of Thompson Falls, Montana, Mary (Steve) Bierwagen Lyons of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Paul Bierwagen of Greenville, South Carolina, and Jack Bierwagen of New York, New York; three great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

Ruthie graduated from Thompson Falls High School in 1958 and married Gordon Bierwagen on July 12, 1958. Over the next 15 years Ruthie and Gordon lived all over the Pacific Northwest before finally returning to the family farm near Thompson Falls in 1972. Once the boys were raised and off to the Air Force and college, Ruthie and Gordon moved to Olympia, Washington, where she began a very successful career in retail management.

In 2004, Ruthie and Gordon purchased a home in Bradenton, Florida, and became full-time retired residents. Ruthie was a passionate volunteer at the Hope Chest and the Arthritis Foundation. She enjoyed her new friends in Bradenton while also playing the role of tireless host as numerous friends and family visited them at their home in Bradenton. Ruthie loved Florida and her only regret was not moving there sooner.

In 2008, Ruthie and Gordon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with countless friends and family. Their loving relationship set a standard and model for the generations to come. In December 2014 Ruthie lost the love of her life to cancer. While she never stopped grieving for her one true love, she continued to live with the verve and zest that her family and friends had learned to expect. She suffered greatly from rheumatoid arthritis and numerous other ailments, but the casual acquaintance would never guess it as she handled her difficulties with grace and courage.  In 2017 Ruthie moved into the Waters Edge retirement community where she became the unofficial social committee chairman responsible for bringing her trademark fun to everyday life for herself and the other residents.

Ruthie left us on Wednesday, August 7, 2019, but will live on in the memories of her many family members and friends forever. Donations in Ruthie’s memory should be made to the Hope Chest of Bradenton.


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