Obituary: Ruth Cordelia Duerksen Linscheid

Ruth Cordelia Duerksen Linscheid, retired teacher, volunteer, and advocate for peace and justice causes, died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, at Kidron Bethel Village, North Newton.

She was born April 13, 1931, at Goessel, the daughter of Gustav and Emma Schmidt Duerksen. She married J. Willard Linscheid on July 24, 1951, at Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church, rural Goessel. They lived in Goessel for many years before retiring to North Newton in 1986. Ruth received her B.S. degree from Bethel College, North Newton, in 1968. Willard died March 20, 1992.

Ruth Linscheid
Ruth Linscheid

Ruth taught elementary school in Newton and Goessel for 18 years. She was a determined advocate for causes of peace and justice, writing numerous letters to editors, politicians and church leaders. She (with Willard before his death) gave many presentations at public forums and churches in support of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. In retirement, she worked as a volunteer for a number of local organizations, most notably Newton Et Cetera Shop from 1987 until early 2016. There, she was known variously as the “card lady” and the “underwear lady.” She also sewed and quilted quilts for many relatives and for auction at the annual Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Relief Sale. An avid baker, she regularly contributed zwieback and other baked goods for fundraisers and other events for Bethel College, the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, and MCC, among others.

She was a member of Bethel College Mennonite Church, a life member of the National Education Association, a supporting member of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests, and a longtime member of PFLAG.

Survivors include three sons, David A. (Cynthia) Linscheid of North Newton, John M. Linscheid (Ken White) of Philadelphia and Steven K. Linscheid (Anne Crichton) of Washington Grove, Md.; two grandsons, Aaron (Caitlin) Linscheid of Kansas City, Kan., and Joel Linscheid (Kim Schmidt) of Wichita; and two great-grandsons, Adam and Coen Linscheid of Kansas City; a brother Walden (Susan) Duerksen of Goessel; and a sister, Emmalyn (John) Hiebert of Beatrice, Neb.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests, P.O. Box 6300, Minneapolis, MN 55406; Bethel College, 300 E. 27th Street, North Newton, KS 67117; or Bethel College Mennonite Church, P.O. Box 364, North Newton, KS 67117-0364.

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