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Mary Ruth Holte
February 12, 1923 ~ August 7, 2023 (age 100) 100 Years Old
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Mary Ruth (Thompson) Holte was born February 12, 1923, at her parents' home in Beaver Township, Boone County, Iowa. She was the third of five children born to Floyd Henry and Edna Muriel (Barnes) Thompson. Her family moved often while living in the Boone and Ogden area, and she changed grade schools several times. Then in March of 1935 the Thompsons, who farmed and raised dairy cattle, moved north to escape the depression-era drought. They first relocated near Emo, Ontario, Canada where her Thompson grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins had relocated from the drought on the Saskatchewan Canadian prairie.
In the fall of 1935 her family moved across the Rainy River to a log cabin farmstead with 160 acres along the river between Indus and Loman, MN, and she enrolled in seventh grade at Loman School. A few years later her father built a home closer to Highway #11. While attending Indus High School, Mary Ruth enjoyed participating in school and 4-H activities. At age sixteen she was chosen the Koochiching County 4H style review queen and won a trip to the state fair for the dress and matching hat that she made. Mary Ruth graduated from Indus High School in 1941.
After graduation she moved to International Falls, MN, where she worked as a waitress and for a furniture store until she saved enough money to enter a 3 year nursing diploma program in the fall of 1943 at the Swedish Hospital School of Nursing in Minneapolis, MN. The training program combined classwork and hospital duty each day. Because there was a shortage of nurses during WWII, the federal government's Cadet Nursing Corps was offered at Swedish and Mary Ruth enrolled in the program which helped finance her nurses training. During the last 6 months of her training she worked as a public health nurse in New York City and came home to graduate with the class of 1946.
Following graduation she first worked at the Littlefork Hospital, and then moved to International Falls when Dr. Kinports and Dr. Walter opened the first medical clinic there. The Falls Memorial Hospital, where she later worked as an evening supervisor, was just being built. In the spring of 1949 Mary Ruth moved to Baudette, MN, to work for Dr. Brink and Dr. Janecky who joined the practice in the fall of 1949 when a new clinic was built and a new hospital was under construction.
On June 18, 1949, Mary Ruth and Stanley F. Holte were united in marriage at the church in Loman, MN. They had met at youth activities sponsored by the Border Evangelical Free Church during their high school years. Three children were born to this union of 64 years, Juliane, Donald and Dale. Mary Ruth was a homemaker while the children were growing up and excelled at cooking, baking, gardening, sewing and entertaining family and friends. She eventually resumed her nursing career working part time at the hospital and nursing home in Baudette.
During her retirement years she enjoyed hardanger embroidery, quilting, flower and rose gardening and
trips with Stanley to visit family. Mary Ruth began to lose her vision due to macular degeneration in her early to mid 70's and despite receiving the few treatments available, she was forced to learn to live without sight before she was 80. With the help of Stanley and their family, and with lots of determination on her part, they were able to continued to live in their home east of Baudette on the Rainy River until 2010 when they became roommates at LakeWood Care Center. Stanley died August 29, 2013, and with the help of a caring staff and her family, she lived there another ten years.
Mary Ruth died peacefully in her sleep on Monday, August 7, 2023 at the age of 100 years, 5 months, and 26 days. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Floyd Merle (Glenda) Thompson, and Lloyd Earl (Myrtle) Thompson and sisters Genevieve Edna Thompson and Carol Joyce (Laurence) Falk. She is survived by her three children and their spouses: Juliane (Greg) Proper, Donald (Karen) Holte, and Dale (Christina) Holte, a sister-in-law Glenda Thompson and numerous nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Service for Mary Holte will be held on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at 2:00pm at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Baudette, MN with a visitation an hour prior. Interment will be held at Elm Park Cemetery.