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1929 Ruth 2019

Ruth Kelling

October 28, 1929 — December 7, 2019

Ruth I. Kelling went home to the Lord her Savior on December 7, 2019. She was born on October 28, 1929 at home in Pleasant Hill, Washington County. Her parents, Louis Naumann and Clara (Weidner) Naumann named her Ruth Ida Emma Naumann, however she did not use the second middle name of Emma. She was baptized by Pastor William Utesch at Salem Lutheran Church on February 16, 1930. Ruth was confirmed on April 2, 1944 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg by Pastor A. J. Kluge.

Entering the world on the day before the historic stock market crash of 1929, Ruth’s childhood as the youngest of seven children living in rural Washington County during the Great Depression and then moving through adolescence during World War II molded her approach to life, primarily being fiscally conservative and enjoying the simple things in life.

Ruth enjoyed her Lutheran faith as she grew up. She belonged to Luther League and taught Sunday School. She also sang in the church choir.

On August 1, 1954 she was married to Daniel Kelling at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Phillipsburg by Pastor H. Burnotte, and together they made their home in Brenham. Earlier in life her brother Herbert taught her how to dance to the country and western music of the day by letting her place her feet on top of his as he danced. Later she in turn taught Dan how to dance by moving the kitchen table to the side and using the remaining space as a dance floor. This led to a lifetime of enjoying dancing with friends and family. Ruth and Dan also enjoyed playing cards, usually “pitch”, and taking an occasional trip to Louisiana to play the slots with their friends. Ruth continued to watch reruns of Lawrence Welk each week and tried her luck on “scratch offs” until the last week of her life.

Dan entered into the Navy in 1955 and was stationed on a ship in California. Dan wanted Ruth nearby so he and a fellow sailor arranged for their wives to meet them in California where they could live in a boarding house that accommodated navy servicemen and their families. Armed with only a small photo of the sailor’s wife, Ruth asked her brother-in-law Johnnie Kramer to take her to a Houston bus station in the middle of the night to meet up with Genie Usie, who was traveling from Louisiana, and then they both traveled to California to be with their husbands. She continued to exchange Christmas cards with Genie for over 60 years. Ruth had an adventurous spirit and valued relationships in her own way.

Ruth worked for the Toubin Brothers at The White House and The New York Store. She volunteered as a “pink lady” at the Trinity Medical Center in Brenham. She eventually retired from Brenham ISD after five years at the Brenham High School food service.

Ruth had an incredible memory, often reciting birthdates, the family trees and other facts of friends and relatives. She also was a “numbers” person being able to conduct basic math in her head.

After a good life together, her beloved Dan died too early in August 2002. While she met and played cards with other widows who had also lost their husbands, it did not replace her partnership with Dan. She missed him every day for the rest of her life and was saddened by not sharing the last 17 years with him. After she recently celebrated her 90th birthday, she expressed how much she missed her husband of 48 years. Now she is with him and their Lord and Savior.

Ruth is survived by her son, Ronald Daniel Kelling, and his wife, Pam; brother in-law Gaylord Wilson; sister-in-law Ruth H. Kelling; and brother-in-law Clarence Hodde and his wife Diana Hodde; numerous nieces, nephews; and other friends and relatives.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; her brothers Herbert Naumann and Arnold Naumann; sisters Elsie Kemper, Erna Grawunder, Lillie Mae Kramer and Nora Meier; numerous brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law; and other relatives and friends.

Special thanks go to the staff of the CHI St. Joseph Manor Nursing Facility who have provided her loving care for the last 5 years and 7 months of her life. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you direct memorials to CHI St. Joseph Manor, 2333 Manor Drive, Bryan, Texas 77802, Attention: Ruth Kelling Memorial. Thanks also go to everyone from Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Brenham and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, College Station for their ministries of communion, and everyone who provided visits and cards to Ruth over the years. Thanks also to Hospice Brazos Valley for their support over the last week.

On December 11, 2019, at 10 a.m., the family will be receiving friends at the church. The funeral service will be conducted by Pastor Charles Parnell at Salem Lutheran on December 11, 2019, starting at 11:00 a.m., with interment to follow in Prairie Lea Cemetery in Brenham. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 W. Main St., Brenham, TX, 979-836-4564.


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Salem Lutheran Church
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  • 1500 Salem Road
    Brenham, Tex 77833
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