Ruth Elaine Lia entered peacefully into her Lord’s rest on Saturday, April 10th, 2021, at Emmanuel Nursing Home in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, under the loving care of Hospice, staff, and family. Ruth reached the age of 92 and lived a full and active life.
Ruth was born to the Reverend Alfred and Frieda (Uetzman) Seltz on June, 7, 1928, in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where she enjoyed a good childhood as a PK (preacher's kid). Ruth talked about how their family was blessed during the Great Depression, and WWII, receiving gifts to fill their pantry in lieu of her father’s full salary. Ruth’s father served several Lutheran congregations in Minnesota and started preaching in the Flom, Ogema, and White Earth churches when the children were young. Ruth’s teen years were spent in Frazee and she liked to describe fun summer days at the local swimming hole along the Ottertail River. Ruth recalled her dad’s sun fishing and spearfishing along with trips to Eagle Lake and Detroit Lake as fond memories as well. After Frazee, Ruth’s father took a call to Alexandria where she graduated as an Alexandria Cardinal in 1945. Ruth’s dad, mom, and siblings helped shape her character and she always spoke of them with great affection. As evidence of this strong bond Ruth slipped into God’s presence on the same day, 13 years later, as her twin sister Judy.
Ruth's professional career highlighted many aspects of her outgoing personality. In the early years she worked for a department store designing show cards and window displays. Ruth was also employed as a secretary, office manager, for an engineering firm in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. After short stints living in Sarasota, Florida, and Huron, South Dakota, Ruth settled in Detroit Lakes to raise her family. During this time Ruth drafted house floor plans and was a transcriptionist for Erickson and Braun Insurance Company. The countless hours she spent correcting the agent’s reports, in real time as a typist, made Ruth virtually unbeatable on the Scrabble board. In her later years, Ruth ventured into small business ownership with the Hilltop Bar and Grill in Lake Park, Minnesota, and she retired with the Detroit Lakes Newspaper developing community calendars and selling advertisements. Throughout her career, Ruth set an example of dedication, excellence, and to enjoy the workplace.
Creativity was an important part of Ruth’s life. As a young adult, Ruth was a funeral soloist and a flutist in the Alexandria High School band. Ruth was a member of the Detroit Lakes Community and Zion Lutheran Church choirs for many years. The children remember Ruth’s love for singers such as Engelbert Humperdink and Frank Sanatra. Ruth also dabbled in art. As a young artist Ruth produced many drawings, maintained oil painting as a hobby through her early motherhood, and the weekly episodes with TV artist Bob Ross were also viewed in her home on a regular basis.
Ruth loved many types of recreational activities. As a long time Second Bayer at the family cottage on Round Lake, in Northern Becker County, she took her kids on nature walks at the Many Point Scout Camp, the cabin road, Tamarac Wildlife Refuge, and collected pussy willows each spring for floral arrangements. Swimming on the sandy beach, boating, and lake life were a big part of family summers. Snowmobiling on an orange Moto-Ski 440, before groomed trails, was one of Ruth’s more adventurous pursuits and she attributed later hip problems to a run in with a small tree sapling. Polka band dances at the Liars Den resort were Saturday night rituals with her lake friends, and Ruth also took in many Blue Angel air performances over the years. Ruth’s living room and kitchen were filled with a variety of plants and she also maintained her flower and rock gardens.
Ruth’s greatest joy, sense of accomplishment, and pride, came from her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Holidays, picnics, and backyard cookouts became Ruth’s most cherished events. There was nothing she enjoyed more than preparing meals for her kids. Many Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving celebrations occurred at Grandma’s house where her family, and her cooking, took center stage. Yearly Memorial Day picnics at Itasca Park and the Detroit Lakes City Park featured her kitchen specialties and famous potato salad as well.
Many people were affected by Ruth’s positive outlook. Even in difficult settings like emergency room visits she would look on the bright side and crack jokes with the doctors and nursing staff. Not always the perfect PK, one of Ruth’s favorite sayings was “Do as I say, and not as I do”. Much to the dismay of her kids, Ruth often reminded them of early speaking miss cues such as “groad rader”, and “stick lip”.
Some people know about God, and some people know how to talk about God, but Ruth knew the grace and forgiveness of God through, and in, the obstacles she overcame in life. During a conversation about faith some years ago Ruth, in her confident and almost correcting way, stated that, “I know my Savior”! Well that settled it, and over the years Grandma Ruth enjoyed attending many worship services, events, and Christian outreaches with her children. As we celebrate the life of Ruth Lia our confidence can be placed in the promises of God, that she truly did know Jesus as her savior, and that she truly did love each and every one of you.
Ruth is survived by her son Michael and Rhonda Manthey of Beaumont, TX; daughter Nadine Walker of Rochert, MN; son David and Dori Bakke of Lake Park, MN; daughter Alison Heurung of Detroit Lakes, MN; stepson Wayne Bakke and Joyce Zak of East Grand Forks, MN; brother Jack and Sue Seltz of Alexandria, MN; brother Al (Sonny) and Connie Seltz of Fergus Falls, MN; grandchildren Chad Manthey; Heather Parker; Derek and Amanda Walker; Hannah Bakke and Andrew Probelski; Nathanael Bakke; Jacob Heurung; Samantha Heurung; great grandchildren Ian Parker; Grant Manthey; Zoey Manthey; and many nieces and nephews.
Ruth is preceded in death by her parents Alfred and Frieda Seltz; brother Roger and Lisa Seltz; sister Judy and Paul Volz; son in law Charlie Walker; and her loving husband Rodney (Rod) Lia.