Ruth Irene (Watts) Winkler, age 92, of Mount Ayr, Iowa passed away peacefully on November 28, 2023, at Mount Ayr Healthcare Nursing Facility. She was born on February 18, 1931, in Detroit, Michigan to Walter and Vera (Duzenbury) Watts. Ruth was united in marriage to Casper (Cap) F. Winkler on January 14, 1954. They were married for 63 years.
Ruth spent her life focused on her family, serving others in her community and church. She was vigilant in the pursuit of knowledge through books and travel. Serving God through serving others as a member of the Community of Christ/RLDS church led her to staffing church youth camps. She became known as “Mother Nature” among campers who enjoyed learning about stars and constellations and her endless knowledge of plants and nature. Ruth directed plays and programs at church, rewriting the script if necessary to ensure every participant had a part. She was a delegate to church World Conferences and planned worship services.
Within the community, Ruth provided service through answering crisis intervention phone lines in addition to teaching. She was a schoolteacher for lower elementary and kindergarten age children. Education and pursuit of knowledge was always a passion for her, and Ruth enjoyed sharing that with children and her family. An avid reader, there was always a book within reach and more filling the shelves her husband Cap built her to hold a portion of their “library”.
Ruth taught through action. She felt family was important and should be close – to each other and to Christ. She ensured her children grew up going to church, family reunions and youth camps. Time spent with extended family and friends was also important to her. She supported many people at critical times in their lives and in celebration. As her family expanded through marriages and grandchildren, she loved having everyone together at her home. She never failed to ask for everyone’s dinner requests, as it helped verify she made reservations at the right restaurant.
As her family grew and left the Detroit area, Ruth found a passion in expanding her mind through travel. She traversed the United States extensively, including Hawaii and Alaska. She added international destinations through the years as well, especially to visit her family stationed overseas. Canada, England, Scandinavia, Europe, Japan, and Israel were all places she loved to discuss and would relay her experiences to anyone willing to sit and listen.
In 2015, Ruth and Cap relocated to Kansas City, Missouri for additional support and to be closer to family. She enjoyed being near two of her great grandchildren and spoiling them with her candy jar. After Cap’s passing, she eventually moved to Mount Ayr, Iowa where she lived until her passing. Ruth was a woman of integrity, who believed in education, being productive, and contributing to the lives of others through service and hospitality.
In addition to her parents, Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Cap, daughter Karen Wiseley, granddaughter DeAnna Winkler, and brothers Floyd (Bob) Watts and Gerald Watts.
Left to cherish her memory are sons Gordon Winkler and wife Linda, Wayne Winkler and wife Marilyn, daughter Donna Lutes and husband John; stepson Dennis Winkler and son-in-law Tod Wiseley; grandchildren Lori Winkler, Melissa Ballantyne, Heidi Bader, Danielle Anthony, Marcus Lutes, Lauren Wagner, and Allen Wiseley; 7 great grandchildren; and many other family members and friends.