Ruth Shea was an exceptionally generous person. A lover of all people, she found great happiness putting the needs of others ahead of her own and lived a lifetime of selflessly giving of her time and resources to those who needed them most. Blessed by her warm spirit and gentle ways, there is no doubt that she will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by all who knew and loved her.
Ruth's story begins in the year of 1940. The effects of the Great Depression were finally beginning to ease and the nation was optimistic about the future. The entertainment industry was booming with the release of major motion pictures and jazz music on the rise. Ralph and Frances (Wegman) Gathje welcomed their newborn daughter, Ruth Sylvia, home on June 14th in Chatfield, Minnesota. Her birth brought much joy and happiness to her loving parents.
Ruth was raised with a strong set of Christian values that impacted her entire life. She attended Country School North before later attending the St. Charles Catholic School. She was very responsible at a young age. Known to help her brothers Ron and Steve with chores, she learned many household duties that carried her into adulthood. Sadly, her baby sister, Audrey died of whooping cough. It was a very difficult time for her family. Ruth later graduated from St. Charles High School and entered the world of work as a bank clerk in Rochester. Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the man who would steal her heart forever, Maurice Shea! Both avid dancers at the local dance hall, they met one evening in Dover and the rest was history! Eager to spend the rest of their lives together, the happy couple joined in marriage on May 7, 1960 just a few weeks shy of her twentieth birthday. Together they raised seven wonderful children on their family farm north of St. Charles. Content to live in the area they called home, they remained there on that farm their entire married lives.
Ruth relished in her years as a homemaker on the farm and was a full partner with Maurice in tending to the many daily needs of managing the property and animals. She was the one to feed, cleanse, and care for the newborn calves as well as grow the vegetables. Born with a strong work ethic and a special knack for gardening, her vegetables and flower beds thrived under her care. Ruth was able to harvest countless batches of vegetables for many years. She normally canned tomatoes as well as several kinds of pickles. Ruth was also excellent at making homemade strawberry jam when the berries were in season. There was never a day off when working on their farm over the years. She and Maurice took great pride in their family farm and the many benefits it provided for them and their growing family.
Hard to believe Ruth would have any additional time to explore other interests, yet she shared a wide variety of special pastimes. She and Maurice loved to play cards and attend card parties. Ruth would never let the kids taste her chips and dips until the day after any party! Her faith was a strong reflection of her life. She wanted nothing more than the very best for others and would often tell her close friends and family that they were in her daily prayers. An active member of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Ruth was involved in St. Anne's Unit, taught catechism and served as sacristan of Calvary Cemetery, along with Maurice. She kept the books for the cemetery and was often seen kneeling on the grass measuring and marking gravesites. Anything she set out to do, she always did with a sense of great pride.
When it came time for relaxation, she read her daily newspaper. Ruth always kept up on the latest events and was never interrupted when she was reading the news. Maurice could enter the room and she wouldn't even lift her head up! Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2019. Ruth leaned on her positive attitude and strong beliefs to see her through. When Ruth was recovering from her chemo treatments, she enjoyed her daily walks down their driveway with their special dog, Lucky. Ruth modeled a life centered around her family, her faith, and her farm. May her warm collection of memories help to heal the hearts of her many special friends and loved ones and may they never doubt the love she held in her heart for each and every one of them.
Ruth Sylvia Shea, 80, of St. Charles, Minnesota, died Wednesday, July 1, 2020 at her home in hospice care, surrounded by her family. Ruth is survived by her husband, Maurice, seven children; Marie (Dave) Kvam of St. Charles, Mark (Jodi) Shea of Eyota, Pat Shea of Utica, Susan (Chris) Uthke of Eyota, Dennis (Sue) Shea of Plainview, Cathy (Roger) Kurth of St. Charles and Dan (Tasha) Shea of St. Charles; grandchildren, Andrea Bosak, April Kvam and David Kvam; Chelsie Blanshan, Charlie and Casey Shea; Dana Davis, Adam and Alex Shea; Kevin Uthke; Mitchell, Abbey and Tessa Shea; Sylvia and Ryan Kurth; Lilli, Lybie, Larissa, Leah and Bryce Shea, 15 great-grandchildren, Henry, Lincoln, Max, Tristen, Teagan, Eli, Brooks, Vayda, Samuel, Kelton, Tierney, Soren, Henry, Meta and Stanley, two brothers, Ronald (Winnie) Gathje of Stewartville and Martin (Darlene) Gathje of Owatonna. Ruth was preceded in death by an infant son, John; her parents, Ralph and Frances Gathje, and a brother Steve Gathje. A Funeral Mass for Ruth will be 11 a.m. Monday, July 6, 2020 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church with the Reverend Tim Biren officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. A Visitation will be at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church from 3-7 p.m. Sunday. Please follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks. Friends may leave a memory of Ruth at her online guestbook and view her video tribute, when it becomes available at www.hofffuneral.com
. Hoff Funeral Service of St. Charles is assisting the family with arrangements. A live stream video of the mass will be available at www.Redeemersaints.org.
"It's so good to be home."