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Open Viewing

Armstrong Funeral Home
Friday July 29th, 2022
12:00pm - 8:00pm

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Celebration of Life

American Legion Building
Saturday July 30th, 2022

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Serving Food

American Legion Building
Saturday July 30th, 2022
5:00pm - 7:00pm

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Ruth McDonnell

Ruth Ann McDonnell (née Arends) was born in Huron, South Dakota, on May 19, 1951, and went home to God on July 22, 2022.  Ruth was the only child born to James and Rozella Delight (née Olmstead) Arends.  She grew up in South Dakota and attended school in Iroquois, Lake Preston, DeSmet, Beresford, and Highmore, from where she graduated high school.  As a child, she often spent her time in the summers staying with aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  During these times, her Aunt Clara taught her to sew—a love that endured all her life.  While at her Aunt Helen’s, she practiced the piano and mastered her first hymn, “He.”  She remembers riding the hay wagon at her Uncle Henry’s and playing in the forts they built out of hay bales.  She got her first job at age 13 and worked most of the rest of her life, including as a seamstress. 

While Ruth was living in Highmore, she met and married her husband, Randy McDonnell.  When Ruth was 20 years old, she lost her father James, but just 2 years later she gained a wonderful stepfather, Lauritz (“Pete”) Pedersen.  Randy and Ruth left South Dakota in 1974 and settled in Mount Ayr, Iowa, where they have remained since.  There, they raised two children and gained many dear friends.  Ruth’s most precious memories involved spending time with family.  She loved attending KC Chiefs football games, watching KC Royals baseball, and spending time at the lake.  Ruth had a gift for making Christmases, holidays, birthdays, and other events extra special for her family, and she was treasured by friends for her thoughtfulness, kindness, and hospitality.

Ruth was preceded in death by her grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents-in-law, a sister-in-law, stepbrothers, and a step-sister-in-law.

Those who mourn her death include husband Randy and their son Randy Jr. (Robin) of Mount Ayr and daughter Angel (Jerry) Mitchell of Lenexa, Kansas; grandchildren Breanne (Richard, “RJ”) Hammond and their children Johnathon and Ruthie of Grandview, Iowa; Stephanie (Nolan) Newton and their children Dallas, Kinsley, and Hendrix of Mount Ayr; Devin (Lindsey) Mitchell and their baby Ella of Wichita, Kansas; and Brandon (Zoë) Mitchell of Wichita; brothers-in-law Mike (Betty) McDonnell and Kirk (Jacque) McDonnell of Highmore, and Charles (Leslie) McDonnell of Greenwood, South Carolina; stepbrothers Dwain (Sheila) Pedersen of Omaha, Nebraska, and Clio (Ethel) Pedersen of Polkville, North Carolina, and step-sister-in-law Sharon Pedersen of Gregory, South Dakota; nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth McDonnell, please visit our flower store.


A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

JuLee R Caldwell Aug 24 2022 3:38 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

Mari Hughes Jul 28 2022 12:31 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

Wendell and Joan Jackson Jul 27 2022 5:24 PM

I'm So Very Sorry for your loss! Ruth was such a sweet, special lady who always had a smile on her face & time to chat! She'll be Truly Missed by many. I'm glad her time of suffering is over & she's walking with her Lord, free of pain & healthy again!
I know you all will miss her until you meet again!!

Jodi Angus Jul 27 2022 1:00 PM

Randy, Randy Jr and Angel. Our thoughts and condolences in the loss of a wife, mother and stepsister. RuthAnn was one beautiful lady in every respect. We didn’t spend much time together, but that time we spent was so precious., and memorable. The love she showed our family will forever be kept. Our doors are open too y’all whenever your this way and plenty of room. I’ve been experiencing extreme medical problems since Easter Sunday and the doctor has recommended me to not travel at this time, Our Love Randy and please come visit us when time permits. Heaven definitely has another beautiful Angel. Love ya brother Clio “Pete” Pedersen

Clio Joseph Pedersen Jul 27 2022 11:07 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

Colette Hunt Jul 26 2022 2:46 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

Barbara Coulthard Jul 26 2022 12:26 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

Janet Hickman and Mark Jul 26 2022 9:19 AM

So sorry to hear of your loss, hugs and prayers for the family

Suzanne Miller Jul 26 2022 5:04 AM

A candle was lit in memory of Ruth McDonnell

Carme Lilienthal Jul 26 2022 1:39 AM

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