Ruth E. Ludgate, age 94, of Sioux Falls and formerly of Flandreau, passed away on Friday, November 13th at Ava’s House hospice in Sioux Falls, SD.
Ruth Emily was born on December 5, 1925 in Wentworth, SD to Charles and Alvina Schultz, the second of six children. After the family moved to Flandreau, she graduated from Flandreau High School with the class of 1943, from which many lifetime friendships were made. Until recently, several of the “Girls of 43” would meet yearly for lunch to reminisce about life in Flandreau, catch up on the present and enjoy their treasured memories. On June 3, 1952, Ruth married Dr. Thomas B. Ludgate who had moved to Flandreau from Ft. Dodge, IA and together they raised a family while maintaining a veterinary practice. While in Flandreau, Ruth was a member of St. Simon & Jude Catholic Church, Catholic Daughters, Altar Society and Athena Club. In Flandreau, her children learned to appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world through her eyes and enthusiastic spirit, learned about friendships and helping others and will always treasure their wonderful growing up years with her as their mother and mentor.
After moving to Sioux Falls in 1979, Ruth quickly became involved in many new activities, most notably, volunteering at Sioux Valley Hospital (Sanford) for 32 years, delivering mail there with her trademark positive attitude and cheerful smile. She loved talking to patients and brought much joy to their lives. In 2010, Ruth was named Volunteer of the Year at Sanford at the age of 84. Ruth was a devoted parishioner at St. Michael’s Catholic Church as a choir member, office volunteer, bread baker for Monsignor Doyle and for many years was in charge of the kitchen crew for funeral dinners.
Closest to her heart was the involvement and service she and her husband gave to LifeScape (formerly Achieve) where son Brian benefits from their programs. Ruth gave hundreds of volunteer hours through the Auxiliary, from working at the Pancake Breakfast to providing supplies for clients and offering help wherever needed. She also left a legacy of beautiful creations, from knitted afghans for every family member, to beautiful sweaters, Christmas stockings and ornaments for the grandchildren and stunning needlework. Ruth touched many lives with her love and selfless generosity.
Survivors include her children: Janice Kitzler of Vermillion, SD, John Ludgate and Brian Ludgate of Sioux Falls and Diane Love (Steve) of Cameron, MT; four grandchildren: David Kitzler (Claudia) of Marietta, GA; Kelly (Tom) Whisinnand of Omaha, NE; Suzanna (Greg) Beran of Lincoln, NE; and Jennifer (Matt) Wassenberg of Omaha, NE; six great grandchildren: Gabriela and Benjamin Kitzler; Duncan and Jersey Whisinnand; Ethan Beran and Twyla Wassenberg; and her sister: Anna Mae Fish of Springfield, VA.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Tom in April of 2019, her brothers, Russell Schultz and Arvin Schultz, her sisters, Mary Oliver and Janet Evers and her son-in-law, Werner Kitzler.
There currently will be no services, but a Celebration of Life is planned for the spring. The family asks that memorials be directed to LifeScape in Sioux Falls, SD.