Our mom, Ruth Ann Penicook, 84, passed away on June 14, 2023.
Ruth Ann was preceded in death by her parents Marie (Saathoff) and Leslie Flessner, a sister Gerry Jehle, husband John Penicook, and son John Penicook, Jr. She is survived by her sister Mary Hack, brother Paul Flessner (sister-in-law Diann), brother and sister in-law Gordon and Sherry Penicook, sister-in-law Barb Powell, daughter Janice Havins (son-in-law John), son Brian Penicook, and daughter-in-law Mary Ellen Penicook. She was blessed with 9 grandchildren Whitney, Jake and Rachel Havins, Katie, Charlie, Robby, and Tommy Penicook, and Traeger and Russell Penicook; and 6 great-grandchildren Ellis and Rowen Goldberg, Johnny Penicook, III, Reagan Penicook, and twins, Ella and Everett Penicook and numerous nieces and nephews and extended family.
Ruth Ann was born on June 27, 1938 and raised on the Colbourne farm in Kempton, less than 2 miles from the J-Ann Penicook farm where she lived for the rest of her life. Although she lived in only one place, Mom enjoyed an outsized life. Her small high school band traveled to Chicago to perform in the Empire Room at the Palmer House Hotel (she played the saxophone). She attended Gallagher business school in Kankakee to study bookkeeping and accounting. Mom married Dad on January 12, 1957 and they set off on an adventure of farming, family and fun. She was elected and served for three, 3-year terms, at the Ford County Farm Service Agency in Paxton, Illinois.
Mom could do anything. When she made Janice's dresses, she would also make one for her Barbie doll. She hung wallpaper by herself and upholstered furniture. She loved crafts, especially ceramics, and made large stuffed bears she called "Cookie Bears". She was an avid reader; there were usually 3 books from the library on her side table at all times. She kept the books for the farm, helped drive the tractors (sometimes with a baby basket in the cabin), cared for the lambs, always had a large garden, fed the farm workers, and raised three children with such ease. She and Dad built our house with indoor swimming pool and a ping pong table where the formal living room should have been which was collapsible to make room for the dance floor. They hosted countless parties and our family Christmas get-togethers. She was always on the go Dad called her "Wheels". When she wasn't traveling, she was helping with the grandkids, loving having them all together whenever she could. Hooper-doopers, Grandma's queso and hot chocolate were their favorites. She was on one of Piper City's best bowling teams ever, squared danced (of course, she made her own square dancing dresses), and played lots of Euchre. She was an active member of the Monday Night Reading Circle. She was also a big part of the Piper City Presbyterian Church for over 60 years. She was the church secretary for many years, sang in the choir, and organized rummage sales, church luncheons and vacation bible school sessions. She was a true Christian and faithful servant, doing untold numbers of kind deeds, some small and some not so small. Every time she experienced someone in need, she would help if she could and always did so quietly, with no fanfare or need for public praise. It was her gift and although we do not know half of what she did, every time someone shared a story with us, we were amazed at this unique and loving trait she possessed. She loved her sisters and sisters-in-law and had so much fun with them, traveling to Europe with Aunt Rosie, and spending winters in Mesa, Arizona with Aunt Mary and Aunt Gerry. She and Dad took trips to Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Missouri, New York, Louisiana and Texas, and a Caribbean cruise. She enjoyed her sports teams, especially the Illini basketball team, and loved watching her grandkids play sports, never missing a chance to cheer them on.
A special thank you to Mary Hack, Paul Flessner, Valerie Haberkorn, Roger Wycoff, Marie Wahls, Celia Bork, Mary Ellen Penicook and others we may have failed to mention who helped us in the last few weeks.
Mom was many things to so many people, and she will be missed by all whose lives she touched.
There will be a memorial service for Mom at the Presbyterian Church in Piper City at 2:00pm on Saturday, June 24, 2023. Pastor Raymond Lantz will officiate. Prior to the memorial service on Saturday, there will be a 1:00pm graveside committal at Brenton Township Cemetery in Piper City.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Presbyterian Church, 219 Margaret Street, Piper City Il, 60959 or a charity of your choosing.
Please share a memory of Ruth at knappfuneralhomes.com
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