Ruth Fern Harnish, 90, of Eureka, passed away peacefully around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 23, 2017, Thanksgiving Day, in Eureka.
She was born April 16, 1927, in Harrisonburg, Va., to Perry and Annie Wenger Martin. She married Robert Harnish on June 9, 1951, in Harrisonburg, Va.
She is survived by her husband and five children, Robert (Carol) Brunk Harnish, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Suzanne (Joe) Gerber, Rio Rico, Ariz.; Mary (Nick) Rush, Afton, Va.; Rick (Annette) Harnish, Flanagan; and Stephen (Monica) Harnish, Bluffton, Ohio; 11 grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; two great-grandsons; two sisters, Virginia Derstine and Margaret (John) Weaver; and one brother, John Martin; all three from Harrisonburg, Va.
She was preceded in death by her parents; one sister, Mary; and four brothers, Robert, Weldon, Sanford and Ralph.
Ruth attended Goshen College in 1947, graduated from La Junta Mennonite School of Nursing and became a registered nurse in 1951. After marriage, she served along with her husband the next 22 years in ministering at Highway Village Mennonite Church in East Peoria. Her life was busy working in the church, the community and home. She was a homemaker, raised her children, and helped in the church as a pastor’s wife. Later she worked as a nurse at Good Samaritan Home, Flanagan, and Maple Lawn Homes, Eureka, and then as a chaplain at Maple Lawn Homes.
Ruth loved sewing, the garden and raising flowers, especially roses. She had a passion for studying family genealogy and gathering family stories. There was a special place in her heart for children. Even late into life as memory faded, she would light up with a big smile and bright eyes on seeing a baby or young child.
Throughout her life Ruth strove to be, in her own words, a “kind and loving person.” Even when she could no longer communicate verbally she would communicate with her smile. People often then said, “Ruth, you made my day.” She trusted and loved Jesus, and was grateful for His immeasurable love and grace and for her privilege of helping to make Him known.
Special thanks to the many who cared for Ruth over the years – home helpers, and health care givers from Maple Lawn Nursing Home, Select Care and UnityPoint Hospice.
Ruth was a member of Roanoke Mennonite Church where the service to celebrate her life will be 11 a.m. Saturday. Pastors Bryan Miller and Alice Kennell will officiate. Visitation will be 4 to 6 p.m. Friday and an hour prior to the Saturday service. There will be a family graveside service at 9 a.m. Saturday. Argo-Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home, Eureka, has assisted the family with arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Roanoke Mennonite Church or Mennonite Central Committee in her memory. Condolences can be sent by visiting www.argoruestmanharris.com/obituaries/Ruth-Harnish/#!/TributeWall.