Ruth K. Perry Eckles passed away on Sunday November 16, 2014 at Scottish Rite Park.
A memorial service will be held 1:30 pm Saturday January 10, 2015 at Scottish Rite Park Penthouse.
Ruth was born February 17, 1924 in West Union, Iowa to Harvey N. Kluckhohn and Lucille Whitcomb. The family moved to Le Mars, Iowa where her father was Superintendent of schools and she attended school from kindergarten through 12th grade.
She went to Westmar College in Le Mars for the first year where she studied voice, piano and organ and took part in dramatic stage productions.
The next three years were spent at Drake University in Des Moines where she earned her degree in Music Education with minors in English and Drama. She majored in voice with a minor in organ. She was the soloist at University Christian Church and played violin in the Drake Des Moines Symphony. She was a member of the MU Phi Epsilon, music sorority, and Chi Omega, social sorority.
In 1946 she became a teacher of piano and voice, and directed the chorus at Wayland Jr. College and Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
In 1948 she attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she earned the Master of Music Education degree. She appeared in several dramatic productions and sang a recital in lieu of thesis.
In 1949 she became the vocal music teacher in a new junior high school in Lansing, Michigan.
In 1951 she was married to Gordon E. Perry and moved to Junction City, Kansas where she taught vocal music and English, and Gordon was an instructor and drum major in the band at Ft. Riley. She played the organ at the local church and was a Red Cross Swimming Instructor during the summer months.
After Gordon’s tour of duty was finished, they moved back to Des Moines where Gordon worked in the personnel department of Meredith Publishing Co., and their two sons, Randall and Richard, were born.
Gordon died in 1965, and Ruth went back to teaching vocal music and basic English for 1 year at Merrill Jr. High, in Des Moines and then at Franklin Jr. High for 16 years. She then taught ESL- (English as a Second Language) for 7 years at 3 elementary schools.
Ruth and Robert L. Eckles were married in 1970, and she had a family of 5 teenagers- her own two sons, two stepsons and a stepdaughter. Ruth and Robert moved to Scottish Rite Park in 1995 where Robert died in 1997. Ruth enjoyed many activities at S.R.P. and the Des Moines community where she played many piano programs and participated in various dramatic productions.
She was a 70 + year member of P.E.O, belonged to the New Hope United Methodist Church, the DM Women’s Club, AAUW and many social groups. She was S.R.P.’s “Welcoming Neighbor” to new residents for 2 years.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; a younger sister, Shirley Stover; her two husbands; and special friend William R. Bird. She is survived by her two sons, Randall Perry of Hyannis, MA and Richard Perry of Newburgh, IN; two stepsons, David Eckles of Grimes, IA and Stephen Eckles of Windsor, CO; and stepdaughter Roberta Eckles of Washington State, four grandchildren and 6 step grandchildren.
Special thanks are given to all Scottish Rite Park employees for years of friendship and helpfulness.
Memorials and gifts may be made to the Scottish Rite Good Life Fund or other charities of choice.