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Life Story / Obituary
Full of life and positivity, Ruth Baumgart, was a beautiful person to know and to love. She lived her life with a strong set of values that focused on putting others first, especially the family that she so loved. Gone too soon, Ruth leaves behind a wonderful collection of memories for her special friends and loved ones to cherish forever.
1942 was a period of time marked by WWII; where families in the United States were experiencing a gas rationing of only three gallons a week and a new breed of movies with war themes were hatching. During the years of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harold and Alice (Figge) Reese were pleased to announce the birth of their baby girl, Ruth Ann, on November 25th, in Paris, Texas. Born the oldest of five children, Ruth’s birth brought much joy and promise in an era of great change.
Born to a set of hardworking parents, Ruth learned the value of helping around the house at an early age. Her father was a carpenter and her mother was a beautician as well as a homemaker. They lived in their home on Collindale Avenue NW that her father built. Her family was very active in their faith in the 9th Reformed Church in town. Ruth attended Sibley Elementary School and although she enjoyed school, she was once caught skipping as a young child! Independent at an early age, she simply stated that she didn’t quite have time for school that day! With four other siblings, there was never a dull moment in the Reese household!
As a family, they enjoyed making memories at their cottage on the shores of Lake Michigan just two miles south of Grand Haven. Ruth remained very close to her siblings throughout her life and was especially close with her brother, Harold later in life. As a teenager, she continued her fearless desire to explore by loading up the family car with her siblings for various trips here and there even as far as to Mackinaw Island. Some of these excursions took place even before she obtained her driver’s license! Packed full of ambition as well as a strong sense of herself, Ruth graduated with the Class of 1961 from Union High School.
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of Siegfried Baumgart, the man who would change the course of her life forever! Their marriage lasted almost 40 years. Meeting near the family cottage one summer, the two of them hit it off from the start. After their wedding ceremony at 9th Reformed Church, they settled into their rental house on Valley Avenue before saving enough resources for their home at 41 Cummings Avenue. Together they raised four wonderful children; Amy, Sandy, Heidi, and David. Siegfried worked at a filling station and later secured a job at the General Motors Metal Fabrication Plant in the Wyoming, MI. Ruth worked as a bookbinder then at Herpolsheimer’s Department Store. Eventually, while still raising her children she secured a job she loved until retirement with the Kent District Library in Grand Rapids.
As a mother, Ruth remained very active in her children’s lives. She was a Bluebird leader during their developing years. As a family, they enjoyed many years of camping around the beautiful Michigan State Parks including trips to Mackinac Island, Traverse City, and to the Grand Canyon. They started out tent camping and as their family grew they purchased a trailer.
Ruth lived her life enjoying the simple pleasures that life had to offer. She was thrilled to visit any park or shoreline and continued traveling to a resort in Bradenton, Florida in her retirement years. She also loved reading and listening to music for relaxation. Her favorites were anything classical as well as instrumental with guitar and piano. When it came to reading she was especially drawn to illustrated books. Some of most favorite books included Island to Oneself, Castaway, and Green Mansions.
Throughout her life, Ruth was drawn to animals and was very fond of her pet dogs especially "Penny" who Ruth loved dearly. She looked forward to hosting her famous tropical Luau parties for her kids and friends over the years complete with tropical decor and floral leis for everyone! She often made special dishes and included island music. Sundays were a day for cooking. Ruth enjoyed fixing her favorite comfort foods of baked chicken dinners, fried burgers, and roast beef dinners. When it came to treating herself to a night out for dinner, Ruth preferred the Cortez Kitchen in Bradenton, Florida and also loved the burgers and fries at the Holiday Bar in Grand Rapids. Loving, patient, and exceptionally kind, Ruth leaves a legacy of living selflessly. Her warm memories will surely bring comfort to those who were close to her during this difficult time. May her beautiful example of living life to the fullest and loving others unconditionally remain etched on the hearts of her close friends and special loved ones.
Ruth Ann Baumgart, age 77, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away on Monday, July 13, 2020 while in the company of her family. She was born in Paris,TX in 1942 to the late Harold and Alice Reese. Ruth is survived by her children, Amy (Garrett) Pourron, Sandy Baumgart, Heidi Baumgart, David Baumgart, and by her siblings; Mary (Bill) DeJonge, Linda (Steve) Krystiniak, Harold Reese and Richard (Todd) Reese. Due to the current COVID 19 restrictions, a private family funeral service will be held on Saturday, July 18, 2020 with a Celebration of Life planned for a future date. Memorial contributions to the West Michigan Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, (2922 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505) are appreciated. Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory, photo, or to sign the guestbook online.