Ruth Holtan, 90, Forest City, died Friday, March 27 at the Good Samaritan Care Center in Forest City.
Funeral service will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Monday, March 30, 2015 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Forest City, with Pastor Rod Hopp officiating, with time to greet the family starting at 1 PM.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 PM on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at Cataldo Schott Funeral Home, 505 North Clark Street in Forest City. Burial will be at Oakland Cemetery in Forest City.
Memorials may be sent to Waldorf College, Heritage Park of North Iowa, Immanuel Lutheran Church or the van fund at Good Samaritan Care Center in Forest City, Iowa.
Ruth (Tweeten) Holtan was born Aug. 15, 1924 to Gilbert and Mae (Dahlby) Tweeten. She had three older siblings from a previous marriage and four younger brothers. She grew up on a farm near Joice and attended Winnebago Lutheran Church. She graduated from Waldorf Junior College where she sang in the choir and later taught school in Joice. In 1944, she married her Waldorf sweetheart Stanford Holtan.
After the war they bought a farm just north of Forest City. She loved spending time with family, especially 4th of July get-togethers. She loved to make lefse, mashed potatoes and apple pie, plan fun activities and have kittens, puppies and bunnies for family. She made as many as 40 quilts a year for needy children around the world. She made many wheel rugs and taught others how to make them. Ruth shared her amazing energy and leadership skills with Immanuel Ladies Aid, Winnebago Farm Bureau Women, Sons of Norway, Waldorf Board of Regents, state and national Republican Party politics. She worked with volunteers for barbecues, parades, elections, and banquets. She loved creating special events and inviting neighbors and friends for some fun.
Ruth and Stanford were an amazing team as they worked to help others learn about their ancestry.
They were so proud of their Norwegian heritage. She compiled information and wrote several books on family history. She and Stanford restored a log house and filled museums on their farm with old articles to help all of us remember our past. They helped to establish Heritage Park, and in 2001 they moved there to continue developing museums, finding volunteers, and giving tours. They traveled to Norway, other places in Europe, Russia, and China, as well as all around North America. They loved visiting their family and friends. They hosted the first AFS foreign exchange student in Forest City. After being chosen as the Iowa Mother of the Year in 1977, she developed a Forest City Young Mothers group to help strengthen the role of mothers. Ruth was twice appointed by Governor Branstad to the Commission on the Status of Women.
She was a life-long supporter of Waldorf and in 1993 Ruth received the Waldorf Alumni Distinguished Service Award “For extraordinary leadership and contribution to Christian higher education and public affairs, and for exemplary service to church and community.” She made learning fun and encouraged hard work.
She laughed, she shared, she dreamed, she triumphed, she listened, she celebrated, she encouraged, she loved, she honored, she served.
Ruth (Tweeten) Holtan is survived by siblings, Jim and Ruth Tweeten of Lake Mills, Stanley and Joyce Tweeten of Manly, Luther and Eloyce Tweeten of Columbus, Ohio, and Maynard and Marilyn Tweeten of Joice; sister-in-law, Dorothy and Herb Heller (FL); and brother-in-law, Harry Halvorsen (MN). Stanford and Ruth were blessed with eight children, Jerry, Audrey, Keith, Phil, Paul, Steve, John and Ron. The Holtans are the proud grandparents of 10 grandsons and 10 granddaughters and 15 great-grandchildren. Jerry and Donna Holtan of Ames, IA, son, Jason and Jennifer Holtan (Ames) and children, Zach, Tyler and Isaac. Audrey and Steve Olmstead of Forest City, daughter Sue Anne and Tom Hadacek (Forest City) and children, Isabelle, Josephine, and Charles, daughter, Casey and Todd Sink (TX) and children, Kylie and Lexi. Keith and Jacalyn Holtan of Minneapolis, MN, son, Ross and Nina (DC), son, Grant and Brooke (NY), and daughter, Jackee and Matt Port (MN), son, Rev. Phil and Merrie Sue Holtan of Perham, MN, daughter, Elise (PA), son, Dr. Mark and Dr. Haley (MN) and children, Roberta and Matilda, and daughter, Johanna (Scotland). Helen Holtan (daughter-in-law) of Savage, MN, her daughter-in-law, Dr. Sarah and children, Helena and Drew (WI), daughter, Miranda (MN), and son, Nicholas and fiance Emma (MN). Steve and Donna Holtan of Morris, IL, daughter, Stephanie and Paul Weghorst (IL) and daughter, Samantha Holtan and child, Shaylin Bunting and Dan Bunting (IL). Dr. John and Eileen Holtan of Love's Park, IL, son, Luke and Tracy (WI), son, Dr. Matt (FL), and daughter, Dr. Emily and Dr. Ben Abeyta (TX) and child, Ben. Dr. Ron and Pam Holtan of Stanhope, IA, daughter, Kristine and John Hodges (Bondurant), son, Michael (Ames), and son, Brandon and Amanda and child, Huck (Des Moines).
Ruth is preceded in death by her parents; Gilbert and Mae Tweeten, siblings Alvin (Cecel) (Mattie) Tweeten, Olive (Leonard) Gilbertson; and Komer (Marian) Johnson; her sister-in-laws, Bess Tweeten, Ardith Halvorsen, brother-in-law, Rolfe (Maretta) Holtan; son, Paul, daughter-in-law, Linda (Haugen) Holtan and grandson, Andrew Holtan.
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