BLOOMINGTON — Ruth Pauline Drexler Lenser, 99, of Lincoln, Neb., formerly of Bloomington, died Thursday (Jan. 15, 2015) in Lincoln, Neb.
Ruth was born Sept. 11, 1915, in White Heath to George and Emma Danner Drexler. She grew up in Bloomington, graduated from high school and Illinois Wesleyan University and received a master's degree in Latin and French from the University of Chicago. Ruth taught these languages for 14 years in Flora and in LaGrange and Saginaw, Mich., high schools. In 1950, Ruth married Maurice Lenser, a college chemistry teacher. He was also well-known internationally as a magician. They moved to Port Huron, Mich., and later to Austin, Minn. Ruth was a substitute school teacher; on-call at a children’s hospital, where she comforted small children; a knitter of baby items with a neighbor; and a member of the American Association of University Women and church women's groups. When Maurice retired because of a heart problem, they moved to the Lenser home in Tilden, Neb., in 1964. Ruth first became the city librarian while her husband was appointed to oversee the finishing and managing of the first low-priced government apartments. Both were active in Peace Church and other United Church of Christ churches in northeast Nebraska. Fishing in the Elkhorn River filled quiet hours and Ruth always loved bird-watching. After her husband’s death in 1967, Ruth finished library training classes at Wayne State College and was Tilden librarian for 21 years, also serving with northeast and state conferences at times. In 1988, she was awarded the Nebraska Library Association Meritorious Service award. She was elected to the Tilden Elkhorn Valley School Board, serving for 12½ years. She served on the consistory of Tilden’s Peace United Church of Christ and took part in some state and national UCC conferences.
In 1989, Ruth moved to Lincoln’s Eastmont Towers Community, where she was active with Headstart, the Eastmont library and edited the Eastmont Courier newsletter from 1996 to 2003. She donated time to the United Church of Christ state office to establish a small collection of books to lend to ministers and to the Lincoln City Library Heritage Room.
Ruth is survived by her sister-in-law, Maxine (Mickey) Drexler, vocalist; her nephew, Richard Drexler, performer and instructor of jazz studies at the University of Central Florida; her niece, Darcy Drexler, violinist and director of The String Academy of Wisconsin at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Darcy's husband, David Anderson, faculty member of the String Academy of Wisconsin and former violinist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (1976 to 2014); her cousin’s widow, Julie Hastings, and Julie's children, daughter Pamela Carrier and sons Charles and Steven Hastings; as well as other cousins in Illinois, Arizona and Texas.
Preceding her in death was her brother, Dr. R. Dwight Drexler, former piano professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and her cousin, William C. Hastings.
Burial services are being handled by Roper and Sons Funeral Home, Lincoln, Neb., and Brockhaus-Harlan Funeral Home, Tilden, Neb., which will take place at a later date at Peace Church Cemetery.
Memorials may be given to First-Plymouth Congregational Church, 2000 D St., Lincoln, NE 68502 or donor’s choice. Condolences may be made at roperandsons.com.