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Ruen - Howard James

Fri, Oct 17th, 2003
Posted in Obituaries

Howard James Ruen of Lanesboro, died Wednesday night, October 8th, at his daughter's home in Blackhammer Township, rural Spring Grove, where he had lived for the past two years.

Howard was born June 24, 1911, the son of John Rudolph and Marie Ruen of rural Decorah, IA. As a youth he fished and trapped with a grandfather, raised purebred Holsteins, planted an apple orchard and developed an ethic of hard work that he carried with him throughout his life. He also developed a strong sense of family, surrounded by a large number of uncles, aunts and cousins. This, too, he carried with him throughout his life.

As a young man, he moved to the Ostrander, MN area, bought a farm and met Lyla Olson. They married October 2, 1935, at Bloomfield Lutheran Church, rural Ostrander, creating a union that lasted more than 55 years till her death in 1990. They lived in the area for nearly 15 years, active in church and the community. In 1949, they moved with their then four children to rural Lanesboro where they had purchased a farm.

Howard's farming operation and his family, with the addition of two more children, flourished in the hills and valleys of rural Lanesboro. He was an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and a member of the Farm Bureau. It was the church that drew Howard's off-farm devotion, attention and energy, serving on the Church Council and teaching his children the importance of living a life of faith.

From the time of his youth, he was intrigued by travel. He made many trips to New York from 1968 through 1998. He loved Broadway and meeting people. In 1977 he and Lyla made the first of several visits to Norway. They also traveled to Canada, Sweden and Denmark. His last trip to New York was in 1998 for the wedding of a granddaughter in Central Park, surrounded by family and friends.

Through his life, family was the centerpiece of his existence and where he was most blessed. At his death he was survived by five sons: John (Janis) of Anderson, Texas; Charles (Gloria), Donald (Mary), James (Wendy Wellnitz) all of Lanesboro, and the Rev. Edward (Katie) of Shorewood, Wisconsin; one daughter, Joy (Lowell) Moen of rural Spring Grove; 22 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren, two sisters, Mildred Redmond of Mabel and Leona Carlson of Mankato and one sister-in-law Helen Olson, Ostrander. He was preceded in death by his wife Lyla.

After his wife died, he was as one grandson eulogized, "the heart of the family." His place he often said was to keep a home where the family could gather. During that period after his wife's death, he learned to cook, bake, make wine and entertain friends and family from around the country and Norway.

Several years before his death, as he moved from his home of nearly 30 years, he wrote the following: "My dream is to see the children and grandchildren go for their goals in life. This is not a sleeping dream, but a dream that is formed with talents into a live dream. And so we find that dreams and talents go hand-in-hand. The dreams wake the talents up to produce works. So we thank God for the dreams and the talents he has given us."

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