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Ruth Naomi Dooley Krizek Kyger passed away peacefully in her oldest daughter’s home in Raytown, MO, on Sept. 1, 2021 under the care of St. Croix Hospice after becoming debilitated from dementia.
Ruth was born Aug 14, 1930, in Gashland, Clay County, Missouri to Harbin L. Dooley and Josephine A. Agee Dooley. She married A. Victor Krizek in June 1948 but the marriage ended in divorce. She was married to Donald E. Kyger from March 1976 up to his death in 2013.
She grew up in the hard scrabble life of a family that never recovered from the depression. She was the only daughter of seven siblings. By the time she was born, all but one of her brothers had married and left home. She would say that although they were poor, they ate well.
Ruth did not graduate from high school because she preferred earning her own money and her parents saw no need for a woman to be educated. She later earned her GED and Associates degree in accounting. After working as bookkeeper for an excavating company, she found her place in the grain business at Midwestern Grain Company.
Don accepted the position of service manager for MIT (Missouri-Illinois Tractor) in St. Louis and they relocated, settling in Bridgeton. Ruth found employment at Bunge Grain Company. They retired to Bella Vista, Arkansas where they built their dream retirement home. After Don passed, she moved to Raytown to be close to family.
Ruth was a devoted, caring mother who kept a clean, organized house and was an excellent cook. She was involved in PTA, served as Den mother for Brownies and Cub Scouts and attended of all her children’s extracurricular school activities.
She was a resourceful and creative woman who knew how to stretch a buck. She made her children’s clothes, curtains, drapes, suits, coats. Nothing went to waste so there were Barbie Doll outfits, patchwork quilts and more. She even made sleeping bags from wool blankets and heavy cotton linen for the family camping trips. When she couldn’t find an outfit she liked at the department store, she bought fabric and hand tailored what she envisioned. She made the blouse she is pictured in.
She had a vegetable garden and fruit trees where ever she lived so there was homemade applesauce, pies, cobblers, jams and jellies and canned vegetables and salsas. She grew her heirloom tomatoes from seed, made her own yogurt and homemade bread. Her specialties were fried chicken with milk gravy, dilly bread and pecan brittle.
She reupholstered and refinished furniture, hung wallpaper and painted and even stained and varnished all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms of their retirement home.
Ruth was a self-taught artist who decorated furniture with tole paintings, created pencil and pen and ink drawings, and acrylic and watercolor paintings. She belonged to the Village Art Club of Bella Vista that was commissioned to create images of all botanical species at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. She contributed her colored pencil drawings of Osage Orange and other plant species.
Knitting and crochet were skills she grew up with and she continued creating sweaters, afghans, socks and scarves for family and friends. She graduated to machine knitting that she discovered at the Machine Knitting Club of St. Charles, MO, and won a prize for her sweater design.
In 1995, she wrote her memoirs AS I REMEMBER for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “I never lived close enough to bond with them. Perhaps they will feel like they know me through this life story.”
Ruth was a Daughter of the American Revolution through her Dooley lineage and her Agee ancestors were French Huguenots who immigrated to Virginia in the late 1600s.
She is survived by her daughters Diane Krizek and Vickie Thompson and her son, Joseph Krizek and wife Lynne, two granddaughters Valarie Luckan and Rochelle Brickner, one grandson Brian Lee and wife Chinue, three great-granddaughters Kaitlin and Kristin Luckan and Audrey Pendergraft and one great-grandson Liam Owings, stepdaughters Pam Doke and husband Gary, and Rhonda Peacock and stepson Douglas Kyger, nieces Eleanor Harrison and husband Jack, Nancy Gulley, Sharon Sheets, Linda Hough and husband Allen, Jacqueline Rogers and husband Steven, Lanette Benson and husband Daniel, Sharon Saiyo Lamoreux and husband David, and half-nieces Allene Dotson, Phoebe Dooley and half-nephews Richard Dooley Jr, Charles Dooley, John Dooley, Frank Dooley and Gerald Dooley.
She is predeceased by her parents, husband Donald Kyger, half-brothers Glenn Dooley and wife Vera, and Richard Dooley and wife Mabel, brothers Sherman Dooley and wife Lavita, Sherrill Dooley and wife Harriett, Morris Dooley, Donald Dooley, and niece Lorna Oliphant.
Ruth’s remains will be buried in a plot next to her late husband, Don, in the Kyger section of the cemetery in Diamond, Missouri.
A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held on Thursday, September 30, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the Heartland Cremation & Burial Chapel. Those in attendance are welcome to join family and friends for dinner after the service.