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Ruth Ann Gillen

March 4, 1943 December 21, 2018
Ruth  Ann Gillen
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Obituary for Ruth Ann Gillen

Ruth Ann Gillen, 75, passed away on December 21, 2018 surrounded by her family after a courageous battle with cancer.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 139 Mercy Drive, Faribault, on December 31, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. with the Reverend Kevin Kenney officiating. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery, Faribault at a later date.

A Memorial visitation will be at Boldt Funeral Home, Faribault, on December 30, 2018, from 1 to 4 p.m. and also at the church for one hour prior to the services.

Ruth was born on March 4, 1943 in Austin, MN to Francis and Martina Schweisthal. She met the love of her life and husband, Jake Gillen, on the softball diamonds of Faribault and was married on December 28, 1961. After living in De Ridder, LA for a short period of time while Jake served in the Army, they moved back to the area and purchased a dairy farm in Medford. Through a lot of hard work and energy they took an old farm and made it a thriving business and life. In 1976, they were awarded the Rice County Outstanding Young Farmer Award. They also received several other Dairy Production awards over the years before turning the farm over to their son, Brian.

While Ruth never had an official long-term job, anyone that has grown up on a farm knows that the wife of a farmer is a mechanical engineer, a psychologist, a runner to get whatever is needed, truck or tractor driver, combine operator, animal caretaker and anything else that could possibly be needed.

Ruth had 3 true loves in life. First was her husband, Jake. The two of them were married for 56 years and have been each other’s soul mates. They were always there for each other and they loved farming together and raising their five children. Her second love was her love to cook and bake. She was always looking for a new recipe to try. There are many people out there that will miss her baked goods and candies over the holiday season. Third was she loved to sew. She was always cutting and sewing a new quilt. Her basement is more like a fabric store than a basement.

In 2001, Ruth and four of her high school classmates (Jo Martinez, Sandy, Hinz, Marge Wadekamper, and Carol Rohwer) decided to make a difference in the world and founded a non-profit organization, Loving Hands. They tapped into Ruth’s love of sewing and they came up with a mission to provide blankets to critically ill children to help them through a difficult time. So, they began making blankets and donating them to several different hospitals throughout the state of Minnesota and also made several trips to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis. Over the years they have made and donated over 35,000 blankets. If that wasn’t enough they also started making dolls, scarves, and cancer hats and began making donations to nursing homes and hospice houses in the area. In 2011, Ruth was awarded the Rice County Community Accolade Award for the service that she and her classmates provided over the years. She was also awarded and recognized on several other occasions including; Volunteer Certificate of Recognition from Governor Rudy Perpich, Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for community service, Distinguished Dairyman of America, and College of St. Thomas Parents of the Day.

She is survived by her loving husband Jake Gillen her five children Sharon (Rick) Bexell of Owatonna, Bill (Melinda) Gillen of Glenville, Brian (Stacey) Gillen of Medford, Jim (Marny) Gillen of Viroqua, WI, and Tom (Jennifer) Gillen of Lakeville thirteen Grandchildren, Molly (Andy) Sammon, Joe (Mandy) Arnold, Matt (Erika) Arnold, Emily (John) Goetschel, Connie (Andrew) Toavs, Shannon Arnold, Briana (Chris) Edmond, Nathaniel Gillen, Faith Gillen, Hailey Gillen, Elana Gillen, Josh Gillen and Ben Gillen; eight great grandchildren, Conner Sammon, Brady Sammon, Rylee Sammon, Bailey Arnold, Bradley Arnold, Brooklyn Arnold, Avery Arnold and Brandy Arnold; four brothers, Don Schweisthal, Paul (Sandra) Schweisthal, Frank (Mary) Schweisthal, and John (Kay) Schweisthal.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents Francis and Martina Schweisthal, her sister Marian Wolfe, her brothers Jim Schweisthal and Harold Schweisthal.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be designated to donor’s choice.

Visit boldtfuneralhome.com for information and guestbook.


Previous Events

Visitation

Sunday

30

Dec

1:00 PM 12/30/2018 1:00:00 PM - 4:00 PM 12/30/2018 4:00:00 PM
Boldt Funeral Home

300 Prairie Avenue
Faribault, MN 55021

Boldt Funeral Home
300 Prairie Avenue Faribault 55021 MN
United States

Visitation

Monday

31

Dec

10:00 AM 12/31/2018 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 12/31/2018 11:00:00 AM
Divine Mercy Catholic Church

139 Mercy Drive
Faribault, MN 55021

Divine Mercy Catholic Church
139 Mercy Drive Faribault 55021 MN
United States

Service

Monday

31

Dec

11:00 AM 12/31/2018 11:00:00 AM
Divine Mercy Catholic Church

139 Mercy Drive
Faribault, MN 55021

Divine Mercy Catholic Church
139 Mercy Drive Faribault 55021 MN
United States
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