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Ruth Ann McDonnell (née Arends) was born in Huron, SD, 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 two years later she gained a wonderful stepfather, Lauritz (“Pete”) Pedersen. Randy and Ruth left South Dakota in 1974 and settled in Mount Ayr, IA, 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, KS; grandchildren; Breanne (Richard, “RJ”) Hammond and their children, Johnathon and Ruthie, of Grandview, IA; Stephanie (Nolan) Newton and their children, Dallas, Kinsley and Hendrix, of Mount Ayr; Devin (Lindsey) Mitchell and their baby, Ella, of Wichita, KS; and Brandon (Zoë) Mitchell of Wichita; brothers-in-law, Mike (Betty) McDonnell and Kirk (Jacque) McDonnell of Highmore and Charles (Leslie) McDonnell of Greenwood, SC; stepbrothers, Dwain (Sheila) Pedersen of Omaha, NE and Clio (Ethel) Pedersen of Polkville, NC and step-sister-in-law, Sharon Pedersen of Gregory, SD; nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
Open visitation will be held at the Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Friday, July 29, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Celebration of Life will be at 5:00 p.m., on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at American Legion in Mount Ayr, IA.
Food served from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2022 at the American Legion in Mount Ayr, IA.
Memorial Fund established in her name to be decided.

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