Ruth Volkert Kratzke obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Ruth Volkert Kratzke

August 14, 1926 - November 19, 2016

Obituary


Ruth Volkert Kratzke (1926-2016)
Ruth Pauline Volkert Kratzke was born in Minneapolis on August 14, 1926. She was baptized in the Lutheran Church on August 29, and she confirmed those vows on Palm Sunday, March 17, 1940. What followed was a lifetime rich in devotion to Christian faith and service.

Ruth was all her life passionate about learning. To start, after eight years of primary education at Immanuel Lutheran School in Minneapolis, she was graduated as class valedictorian. A diploma from North High School was the next step, after which Ruth was...

Ruth Volkert Kratzke (1926-2016)
Ruth Pauline Volkert Kratzke was born in Minneapolis on August 14, 1926. She was baptized in the Lutheran Church on August 29, and she confirmed those vows on Palm Sunday, March 17, 1940. What followed was a lifetime rich in devotion to Christian faith and service.

Ruth was all her life passionate about learning. To start, after eight years of primary education at Immanuel Lutheran School in Minneapolis, she was graduated as class valedictorian. A diploma from North High School was the next step, after which Ruth was matriculated at the University of Minnesota. While a Golden Gopher, she majored in music, studying piano with well-known baroque expert, Donald N. Ferguson. To develop her music for wider venues, Ruth later studied theory at the University of Washington, earning her Master's Degree in 1971. Never content to rest on her own laurels, Ruth still later earned a degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Lutheran College in 1988.

For Ruth, formal education meant that she could best profess her faith through the learning manifest in her music. Along the way, Ruth put her talent to use in various places and times. During World War II, she played the piano in a USO, a war-time social club for servicemen. A continuous stream of positions and occasions centered on church musicianship ensued. Whether in front of large audiences or small gatherings, Ruth found in music her calling for bringing people together to worship.

As they often do, music and romance collided when, while she served in college as the organist for the chapel services of Gamma Delta, an organization of Lutheran students, Ruth met Albert William (Bill) Kratzke, a returning war veteran. They were married at Peace Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, on April 4, 1948. After many geographical moves, Ruth and Bill ultimately settled in Bellevue, Washington (where Ruth was as the principal organist and choir director for Christ the King Lutheran Church). Along the way, the couple was blessed with five children, each of whom then married: William Paul (Marina), Mary Elisabeth (David) Fagerstrom, Thomas Martin (Diem-Tran), Stephen John (Myla), and Peter James (Jeraldine Kraver). As one would expect of her, Ruth was a constant source of encouragement to her family members in their own pursuit of educational matters.

Every literal as well as figurative step of the way, Ruth embraced not only the intellectual but physical and social aspects to life. As a youth, Ruth became enamored of ice skating, especially given the ready availability of public rinks in her hometown of Minneapolis. Suffice it to say that Ruth's skates needed frequent sharpening during her adult life. In retirement, Ruth's daily walks were a marvel to younger generations. Ruth and Bill's home in the Pacific Northwest, though, sometimes was little more than a launching pad to the couple's domestic and foreign travel, during which they especially enjoyed learning about different cultures. Inspired by such experiences, Ruth and Bill were patrons of the arts on the local scene.

Ruth is survived by her husband of sixty-eight years, her children, eleven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Ruth is also survived by her two sisters--Betty Diersen of Princeton, Minnesota, and Carol Klongland of Madison, Wisconsin--and many nephews and nieces. A memorial service will be held on December 17, 2016, at 2:00 pm at Christ the King Lutheran Church (3730 148th Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 ). Suggested recipients of memorial gifts are Christ the King Church (at the above address) and Lutheran Ministry Services (LMS) (7040 36th Ave. NE, Seattle, WA 98115). LMS is an agency that provides chaplain and lay volunteer visitation services to people in hospitals, nursing homes, care facilities, prisons, and the like.