RUTH MINNIE GRAVELLE, age 86, passed away peacefully on June 26,
2020 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in King, WI. Ruth was born on April 20,
1934 to Alexander John Lewis and Viola Pilling in rural Calumet County. She was
the last of three daughters.
Ruth spent much of her adult life as a resident of Pembine, Wisconsin. She
and her first husband, William (“Bill”) Burgess, raised three sons while operating
the Algonguin Hotel and Motel. In 1975, Ruth married the love of her life, Robert
(“Bob”) Gravelle. They were actively involved in the community, including Grace
Lutheran Church, for many years. Together, they enjoyed spending time with their
5 children and 8 grandchildren. Despite despising her middle name, Ruth
affectionately became known as Grandma Minnie by all at her Bob’s teasing and in
recognition of her fond love of Minnie Mouse.
In 1988, Ruth and Bob retired to Leesburg, FL and enjoyed almost 20 years
of good weather and many lasting friendships there. They returned to Wisconsin
in 2008 because of Bob’s declining health and ultimately, became residents of the
Wisconsin Veteran’s Home.
Ruth enjoyed a varied and long work life. In her younger years, she worked
office jobs and served as a dental assistant. Ruth also taught floral arranging
classes before ultimately opening her own interior design business known as
Interior Designs by Ruth. Her love for interior decorating continued after she and
Bob moved to Florida. She decorated model homes for their retirement
community in Leesburg and many commercial spaces and private residences in
several states and abroad. She was delighted that Bob, a retired bank president,
eagerly became her assistant.
After returning to Wisconsin, Ruth continued to work and be active. She
decorated many areas in the Wisconsin Veterans Home, served as a librarian,
planned many social events and became a companion and advocate for many there
after Bob’s death in 2010.
Above her style and grace, Ruth was best known as a kind, generous and
loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife and friend. She always
listened without judgment, eagerly gave advice when asked and had an infectious
and positive attitude about everything. She will have a lasting impact on those she
knew and loved.
Ruth was predeceased by her parents; a sister, Jewel Jensen; a niece, Karen
Good and her husband, Bob. Survivors include a sister, Merle Hansen; her five
children: Lorie Gravelle, Richard Burgess, Debra Burgess, Thomas (Cindy)
Burgess and Timothy (Robin) Burgess; eight grandchildren, Heather Poster,
Jennifer (Kristin) Burgess, Elizabeth Broemer, Christopher (Jillian) Burgess, Jamie
(Ryan) Milke, Nicole (Mat) Boesch, Mindy Sue (Kelcie) Burgess and Kyle
Burgess; fifteen great grandchildren; nieces, Marie Decker and Donna Dowd; and
nephews, Neil Jensen and Dale Hansen.
The family would like to thank the staff at the Wisconsin Veterans Home for
their care and love for Bob and Ruth over 10 years.
A private memorial service for family members will be held at a future date.
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