WAKEENEY — Ruth Mae (Nuss) Critser, age 91, passed away peacefully on March 26, 2020 at her home in WaKeeney, Kan. Born in Wheatland Township, Barton County, Kan., on the May 4, 1928, Ruth was the tenth child of Reinhold (Ray) Nuss and Amalia (Mollie) Beisel. She was born in the country home of her grandparents, Henry and Lydia (Morgenstern) Nuss, located north of the city of Hoisington, Kan.
Ruth was baptized the May 20, 1928 into the Lutheran Faith, Stickney, Kan. Growing up in the country, she attended three years in a one room schoolhouse. After her parents moved the family to Great Bend, Kan., she completed the remainder of her school years through eleventh grade. She was confirmed on the April 18, 1943 in Great Bend, Kan. at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Even during her teenage years, Ruth displayed her impeccable work ethic. At the age of 16 she babysat for neighbors’ children, was a clerk at the Five & Ten Store, and J.S. Dillon’s Grocery Store. Her mother operated Fairmont’s Ice Cream Parlor and young Ruth was working there on a hot summer day in May 1944 when fate intervened and she met her soul mate, Bob L. Critser. They were engaged the following January and married on Aug. 2, 1946 in the Lutheran Church in Great Bend, Kan. Bob’s work took them to WaKeeney, Kan. and it had been their home since 1953.
Bob and Ruth were blessed with seven children. While raising their children, she was active in leading scouting and youth work. As the children grew, she was able to go back to school, earn her GED and take some college courses.
Bob and Ruth owned the Coast to Coast Store in WaKeeney. It was a family endeavor and everyone worked there. After selling the store in 1973, they moved to a farm three miles south of WaKeeney where they farmed, rented land and made improvements for wildlife.
Ruth enjoyed gardening, canning, sewing, embroidery work and doing genealogical research. She has documented her findings in vast volumes of history on her and Bob’s families. Ruth loved the outdoors and spent countless hours hunting and fishing with Bob and other members of the family. She enjoyed being a part of the Diehards Friends Group at Cedar Bluff. Bob and Ruth enjoyed traveling in their motorhome.
Ruth was never too busy to lend a helping hand family or friends. She was a life time member of the Ladies VFW Auxiliary of WaKeeney and a member of the Red Hat Society. She volunteered at countless community activities including Hospice and the Extension Unit. Devoted to her Lord and her community, Ruth was engaged in the Ladies Aid and Dorus Group and other activities of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
Her family was her pride and joy, seven children, 18 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren.
She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, whose zeal and energy will be greatly missed.
She is survived by her loving daughters Lorine (Jim) Kuhn of Kingsland, Texas, Connie (Ron) Herdt of Smith Center, Kan., Nancy (Ron) Nichol of Hill City, Kan.; a sister Virginia (Karl) Harmony; 18 adoring grandchildren; and 33 precious great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Bob L. Critser; daughters Pearl May Critser and Audrey Lorine Macke; sons Douglas Marion Critser and John Eric Critser; seven brothers Roland, Leroy, Ervin, Clarence, Gerhardt, Ray Jr., and Wilbur Nuss; four sisters Josephine Sutton, Irene Ledford, Berneice Hillman and Ruby Manweiler.
Celebration of Ruth’s incredible life will be held at a later date. Memorials may be sent to Hospice & Palliative Care of NW Kansas, P.O. Box 116, Phillipsburg, KS 67661.
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, April 5, 2020