Ruth Ellen Loeschke, age 95, of Milbank died on November 20, 2019, at Avantara-Milbank.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 30, at 2:00 p.m. at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Milbank. Rev. Timothy Koch will officiate, and burial will be in the Milbank City Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Friday from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Mundwiler Funeral Home and continue at the church on Saturday, one hour prior to the service. Music will be provided by Kristy Tostenson, organist, and Tim Mundwiler, vocalist. Casket bearers will be Ruth’s grandchildren.
Ruth Ellen (Elliott) Loeschke, born on April 14, 1924, was the oldest of eight children of (Samuel) Lowry Elliott and Eva Lorene (McFarland) Elliott. She was born in Rapid City, SD.
Ruth spent her youth and teen years growing up in Buffalo Gap, SD. She would often tell of times when she and her family would hike Calico Canyon near Buffalo Gap. It was on these outings that she developed her love of flowers and nature.
At the age of 17, Ruth moved with her family to Bird Haven (the McFarland homestead farm) located in Alban Township, Grant County, southeast of Milbank, SD. After graduating from Big Stone City School, she attended Northern State College in Aberdeen, SD, and received her teaching certificate. As a teacher, she taught children at Big Stone City School and in a country school located in Vernon Township, Grant County. While teaching in the country school, she met her husband, Karl William Loeschke. Ruth married Karl on June 17, 1947. They lived on the Loeschke homestead farm until 1975 when they moved to the McFarland homestead farm (Bird Haven) located two miles north of the Loeschke farm. They built a house that overlooked the Yellow Bank River.
Ruth worked at the Grant County Public Library, first on the Grant County Book Mobile and then at the library for many years until her retirement in 1993. She performed volunteer services by providing library materials to senior citizens in the community. Her love of reading kept her active in library work for 30 years.
Ruth was a member of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Trinity Lutheran Church in Walter Township, Bellingham, MN, and later at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Milbank. She was also a member of Walter Homemakers Club in Bellingham, MN. Her passion for flowers and gardening was evident through her membership in two garden clubs, Milbank Town and Country Garden Club (that her father was charter member of) and Big Stone Horticultural Society. Ruth and Karl received many honors for their gladiolas they grew and displayed at floral shows. In addition to gardening, she was also active in canning fruit and vegetables, sewing, quilting, crafting, reading, traveling, and volunteering in the community.
Ruth is survived by her children: William (Michele) Loeschke of Vineland, NJ; Mark (Darla) Loeschke of Milbank, SD; Janet (Anthony) Maddox of Rapid City, SD; Ronald (Carol) Loeschke of Aberdeen, SD; 12 grandchildren: Ryan Loeschke, Megan (Scott) Levick, Emily (Cory) Ehlebracht, Nick (Amy) Loeschke, Sally (Chuck) Heinje, Tina Koch, Dustin Koch, Ian (Emily) Maddox, Andrea (Shane) McCandlish, Hillarie Maddox (Udie Chima), Ben Loeschke, and Casey (Matt) Johnson; 16 great-grandchildren: Molly Ehlebracht, Alex Ehlebracht, Tyler Heinje, Hailey Heinje, Brittney Heinje, Danessa Koch, Dashaya Koch, Troy Koch, Trey Koch, Olive Maddox, Anaise Maddox, Bentley Johnson, Paisley Johnson, Reed Levick, Aviel Chima, and Faith Johnson; siblings: David “Jerry” Elliott of Milbank, SD; Neil (Elizabeth) Elliott of Fort Collins, CO; Glen (Lucy) Elliott of Shoreview, MN; Eva Clark of Reseda, CA; and sisters-in-law: Ethel Elliott of West Hills, CA; and Doris Elliott of Bishop, CA.
She was preceded in death by her parents: Lowry and Eva; her husband, Karl; daughter, Barbara Koch; son-in-law, Douglas Koch; grandson, Troy Koch; grandson, Reed Loeschke; three brothers: James Elliott, John Elliott, and Bruce Elliott; and one brother-in-law, James Clark.