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Elizabeth Bruder, 97, of West Branch

Ruth Elizabeth Bruder, age 97, passed away on Thursday, January 6, 2022 at her home in West Branch, MI surrounded by her loving family.

Ruth was born on March 29, 1924 to James and Grace Hughes in Battle Creek, MI. She was the second oldest of five children, all of whom have predeceased her. She spent her childhood years in Battle Creek, until the family moved to Lansing when she was 16. Upon graduation from Lansing Eastern, she worked for a year so she could earn her tuition for the E.W. Sparrow Hospital School of Nursing. Penicillin became available when Ruth was in nursing school, and she was the first student nurse at Sparrow to administer this life-saving drug to patients. She graduated in 1946 and went on to work at Sparrow (Lansing), Leila Y. Post Hospital (Battle Creek) and LakeView Hospital (Paw Paw).

Ruth’s family returned to Battle Creek and attended Assyria Church. She was introduced to the pastor’s son, Leonard “Jim” Bruder, and in 1950 they were married in Lansing. They were blessed (ha!) with four children, Larry (Sarah) Bruder of West Branch, Dan (Pam) Bruder of West Branch, Greg Bruder of Gaylord and Julie (Steve) Houseal of Midland. She was the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren and great grandmother of fifteen great grandchildren.

In 1956, her husband Jim became a Trooper in the Michigan State Police. He was transferred to several posts and as a result, the family lived in Paw Paw, Stephenson and Jackson. In 1967, he was transferred to West Branch where she resided until her death.

Ruth continued her love of nursing and began working in 1970 as a home health nurse for the Ogemaw County Health Department. She later served as a beloved school nurse at Surline Elementary School and described working with the children as “the best job she ever had”.

In 1968, Jim and Ruth placed their first order for 75 strawberry plants, and in 1972 they started a U-Pick strawberry farm at their residence. Ruth worked tirelessly in the field, preparing the patch for the upcoming season. After 25 years of hard work, the business closed. To this day, former customers approached her or her children “remembering when they picked berries” at the Bruder’s strawberry patch.

Ruth was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in West Branch. During her “retirement” years she made countless quilted baby blankets which were distributed by the church’s Ladies Missionary committee to a hospital in Bangladesh. She averaged one per week and continued this ministry until a month before her death.

Ruth also loved to read, most likely dating back to the depression era when all they had were books and a radio.

Ruth Bruder had a compassionate heart. She loved God, her family, and her country.

Her husband Jim passed away in 2000, remarkably, at dawn of their 50th wedding anniversary. She is survived by her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, brothers-in-law Ronald Wilson and Ron Bruder, sister-in-law Dorothy Hughes, cousins Margaret Weller and Doug Spencer, and many nieces and nephews.

The funeral service was held at Calvary Baptist Church in West Branch on Tuesday, January 11, 2022. Burial was at Brookside Cemetery. Pastor Tom Teall will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Missions Committee, Calvary Baptist Church, West Branch.

Ruth will be dearly missed.

“When all of life is over and our work on earth is done, meet me there”.

Arrangements were handled by Steuernol & McLaren Funeral Home in West Branch.

www.steuernolmclaren.comTo send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth Elizabeth Bruder please visit our Tribute Store.

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