RUTH MINNIE GRAVELLE, age 86, passed away peacefully on June 26, 2020 at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home in King, WI. Ruth was born on April 20, 1934 to Alexander John Lewis and Viola Pilling in rural Calumet County. She was the last of three daughters.
Ruth spent much of her adult life as a resident of Pembine, Wisconsin. She and her first husband, William (“Bill”) Burgess, raised three sons while operating the Algonguin Hotel and Motel. In 1975, Ruth married the love of her life, Robert (“Bob”) Gravelle. They were actively involved in the community, including Grace Lutheran Church, for many years. Together, they enjoyed spending time with their 5 children and 8 grandchildren. Despite despising her middle name, Ruth affectionately became known as Grandma Minnie by all at her Bob’s teasing and in recognition of her fond love of Minnie Mouse.
In 1988, Ruth and Bob retired to Leesburg, FL and enjoyed almost 20 years of good weather and many lasting friendships there. They returned to Wisconsin in 2008 because of Bob’s declining health and ultimately, became residents of the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home.
Ruth enjoyed a varied and long work life. In her younger years, she worked office jobs and served as a dental assistant. Ruth also taught floral arranging classes before ultimately opening her own interior design business known as Interior Designs by Ruth. Her love for interior decorating continued after she and Bob moved to Florida. She decorated model homes for their retirement community in Leesburg and many commercial spaces and private residences in several states and abroad. She was delighted that Bob, a retired bank president, eagerly became her assistant.
After returning to Wisconsin, Ruth continued to work and be active. She decorated many areas in the Wisconsin Veterans Home, served as a librarian, planned many social events and became a companion and advocate for many there after Bob’s death in 2010.
Above her style and grace, Ruth was best known as a kind, generous and loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife and friend. She always listened without judgment, eagerly gave advice when asked and had an infectious and positive attitude about everything. She will have a lasting impact on those she knew and loved.
Ruth was predeceased by her parents; a sister, Jewel Jensen; a niece, Karen Good and her husband, Bob. Survivors include a sister, Merle Hansen; her five children: Lorie Gravelle, Richard Burgess, Debra Burgess, Thomas (Cindy) Burgess and Timothy (Robin) Burgess; eight grandchildren, Heather Poster, Jennifer (Kristin) Burgess, Elizabeth Broemer, Christopher (Jillian) Burgess, Jamie (Ryan) Milke, Nicole (Mat) Boesch, Mindy Sue (Kelcie) Burgess and Kyle Burgess; fifteen great grandchildren; nieces, Marie Decker and Donna Dowd; and nephews, Neil Jensen and Dale Hansen.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Wisconsin Veterans Home for their care and love for Bob and Ruth over 10 years.
A private memorial service for family members will be held at a future date.
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