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Ruth Brunkhorst Moss was ageless and classic. All of her days were filled with grace, beauty, happiness and joy. She breathed her last on December 9, 2020, at Bishop Spencer Place in Kansas City, her home since 2014.
Ruth was born August 30, 1921, in Sedalia, Mo., the third of five daughters of Manie and Harry Brunkhorst. From small town beginnings through the Great Depression and WWII to taking on big city life in Kansas City and living through the COVID-19 pandemic, her journey through life was quite the adventure.
Ruth touched countless lives during her 99 years. She filled a room with her radiant smile. You may read this and recall a warm greeting, friendly call, caring note or her patient, intent listening that filled your heart and made you smile too.
With an eye for art, Ruth surrounded herself with its beauty. She and her husband, Tully, filled their home with extraordinary artworks by talented artists from around the world.
Ruth never tired of opening our eyes to the power of art to take your breath away with its beauty. For over 50 years, she relished her role as a volunteer docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
She also appreciated many opportunities to study artists’ works when she took over the Henry Ruth Fine Arts appraisal business after Tully’s death in 1989. Many a librarian in the Nelson’s Art Reference Library hunted and searched for just the right volume she needed as she studied a painter’s brushstroke or the delicate detail of a ceramic. She was always profoundly grateful for their patience and guidance.
Ruth’s ceaseless appetite for learning nourished her throughout her life. She always had a KC Studio, Arts & Antiques magazine, Bon Appetit or Wall Street Journal by her chair. Her study group, Alternate Tuesday Club, gave her innumerable hours of intense fascination as she explored the world and all of its diversity.
Her masterpieces were her children, Tully Moss of Hingham, Mass., Melinda McNamara (Don) of Peoria, Ariz. and Elaine Smoot (John) of Hingham, Mass. She infused them with the richness of generosity, curiosity and grace.
Ruth’s spirit carries on in all of us, including her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, her niece and nephews, their families, and a world of friends. We like to think her husband, Tully, has already greeted her with one of his big smooches and guided her, hand in hand, onward through eternity.
We await the day when the world opens up again so we also can greet family and friends with a big hug and kiss. For now, no services are planned.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Ruth, please consider a contribution in her name to the education program at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to encourage the next generation of art lovers.