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Ruth M. Hulsebus

Posted: Friday, Jan 18th, 2013

ROCKFORD — Ruth Marie Drunasky was born on May 17, 1924, in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. She was the fourth child and third daughter of Louis Drunasky and Charlotte Manly Drunasky. Owners of a dairy farm, the couple had six children: Robert (Buster), twins Beatrice (Bea) and Bernadine, Ruth, Mary Ellen and Rodney. When Ruth was only 15, her mother, Charlotte, died of ovarian cancer. Soon after the death of her mother, her father, Louis, was hit and killed by a train in an accident. Ruth went on to graduate from Sun Prairie High School and during World War II she started business school. But jobs were plentiful during the war and she decided to take a position at a bank in Madison, Wisconsin. Ruth met her husband, Robert (Bob) Hulsebus, through friends shortly after he returned from his service in World War II. The two were married at St. Patrick’s church in Madison on July 3, 1946. Early in their marriage Ruth became ill and, through a recommendation, sought treatment at the Palmer Chiropractic Clinic in Davenport, Iowa. Under chiropractic care Ruth regained her health and Bob was inspired to enroll at the Palmer School of Chiropractic under the G.I. Bill. During his studies, Bob pitched in a semi-pro softball league and Ruth took a job at a development company and quickly became a valued employee. They lived in Palmerton, a small trailer community, and made many friends there. Shortly after the birth of their first son, Roger, in 1949, the family moved to Bryon, Illinois, where they would live for over 30 years. They were 75 miles from family but soon made friends with other WWII veterans with their wives who had also come to Byron to start businesses. Bob became Byron’s first chiropractor and Ruth took in laundry and worked at the office. They waited six weeks for their first patient. That patient complained that her present chiropractor went from charging two dollars to three dollars per visit and was no longer using a gown. Not having any gowns for patients, they used one of Ruth’s and charged her $2.75 for the visit. Within the next six years two more sons were born: Michael (Mike) in 1951 and James (Jim) in 1955. During these years the practice grew and while Bob worked on patients, Ruth ran the business side of the practice. When she retired she was doing the bookkeeping and payroll for three offices. She was a passionate advocate of chiropractic and a steadfast supporter of her husband’s lifelong professional advocacy. Ruth was respected in her circles and active in her community. She became the first women elected to the Byron School Board after she was urged by teachers to run. In addition, she went on to help bring Meals on Wheels to Byron and was one of the founders of the Byron Library. Ruth was a dedicated mother who spent lots of time with her three sons. She was a room mother at school, an alter boy mother at church and a den mother for the Cub Scouts. She was a trusted counselor for all three of her spirited (to put it mildly) sons. She helped with her sons’ paper routes and kept them in line. Ruth created a welcoming home where all her sons’ friends gathered to play baseball and basketball, swim, boat, play pool and have fun.

Later, when their children were grown, the family home in Byron became a gathering place for their adult children, spouses and grandchildren. Summers and holidays were especially lively.

Ruth was a favorite aunt to many of her nieces and nephews. She became affectionately known as “Aunt Bootie” after one of her nieces called her that when she had trouble pronouncing Ruthie.

Ruth and her husband traveled to many parts of the world and belonged to numerous clubs including golf, dance and bridge. They had a second home on the east coast of Florida for more than 30 years and made many friends there. Eventually Ruth and Bob moved from their beloved home in Byron to be closer to family in Freeport, IL. In 1995, Bob passed away after 49 years of marriage to Ruth.

For the last few years of her life she lived in Rockford, Illinois, at Siena. As was always the case, she made a lot of friends there. She befriended not only the residents but staff and care givers as well. She made one very special relationship while there with Valli Williams, her primary care giver. They began to have a weekly brunch and it was a relationship that Ruth treasured.

Ruth died peacefully surrounded by her sons on Friday, January 11, 2013, in Rockford, Illinois.

She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers, Robert and Rodney and sisters, Bernadine and Mary Ellen, husband, Dr. Robert L. Hulsebus (1995), and grandchild, James Nanninga (1993).

She is survived by sons: Dr. Roger (Dianne Parvin) Hulsebus of Rockford, IL, Dr. Mike (Cindy) Hulsebus of Fontana, WI, Dr. Jim (Deirdre) Hulsebus of Caledonia, IL; sister: Bea Barth of Sun Prairie, WI; grandchildren: Dr. Tara (Paul) Theisen of Freeport, IL, Sage (Jon Rose) Hulsebus of Silver Spring, MD, Robin (Kevin) Mayer of Lisle, IL, Jeremy Nanninga of Muscatine, IA, Dr. Brant (Melinda) Hulsebus of Rockford, IL, Cory (Aaron) Park of Rockford, IL, Dr. Ryan (Melissa) Hulsebus of Machesney Park, IL, Dr. Kyle (Shanti) Hulsebus of Caledonia, IL, Brett Hulsebus of Lake Zurich, IL and Scott Hulsebus of Caledonia, IL, Brad (Natalie) Parvin of Rockford, IL and Andrea (John) Weber of Dallas, TX and great-grandchildren: Brock, Ava, Ivy, Katarina, Devin, Carter, Elizabeth, Caroline, Amelia, Julia, Mackenzie, Courtney, Kaitlin, Trenton and Carson.

Christian funeral mass was held Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in St. Mary Catholic Church, 220 E. 2nd St., Byron with Father Howard Barch officiating. Burial was in St. Mary Cemetery, Byron. Visitation was held Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the Farrell-Holland-Gale Funeral Home, 506 W. Merchant St, Byron. Memorials in Ruth’s name may be directed to St. Mary Catholic Church, Byron.

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