Ruth Helen Kolar, 91, of Carbondale, Illinois and Lake Gogebic, Michigan, passed away peacefully on Good Friday, March 30, 2018, in Carbondale, Illinois. She was born March 8, 1927 in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Helen and Earl Livesey. In her early years she grew up in Hebron, Illinois on a stock animal/dairy/crop farm with her Uncle and Aunt Fuller. In her high school years she lived with her mother in Evanston, Illinois where she attended Evanston Township High School. Tragically, her mother died on the day she graduated from high school. This had a profound impact on her.
In her youth during the depression years she lived on her Aunt and Uncle’s farm in northern Illinois where she learned about all aspects of typical farm life including gardening and canning, raising and milking cattle, raising hogs and raising chickens and collecting eggs. However, she often said one of her strongest and fondest memories was being able to raise and ride her ponies while she was on the farm. When asked about the depression years she recollected although those were very hard times for everyone, being on a farm with livestock and gardening space kept them from worrying about where their next meal would come from. She always reflected on that and in how blessed she was during those hard times.
Just after World War Two she met her future husband on a Saturday night at a dance in Crystal Lake, Illinois. On October 5, 1946 she married her husband of 71 years, Calvin Frank Kolar. He survives. Together they raised a family of three children, son Clay and daughters Karen and Lynn. They all survive. In addition to her husband and children, Ruth is survived by five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
After marriage Calvin and Ruth settled not far from Hebron in Wonder Lake, Illinois where they resided for much of their adult life and where they raised their three children. In the early sixties they were able to purchase some residential acreage on Lake Gogebic in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula. They eventually were able to build a permanent home on that acreage which became their summer and fall residence during their retirement years. Ruth and Calvin have many friends in Michigan and in later years considered that home. Also, for a period of several years during their retirement they lived in Bradenton, Florida during the winter months. At that residence Ruth was active in the local church and they both enjoyed the winter time weather of Florida and the activities that accompany that weather. When Calvin and Ruth decided it was time to be located closer to family, they moved from their Florida winter residence to Carbondale, Illinois where their son was located. In Carbondale Calvin and Ruth made many friends and Ruth became active at Epiphany Lutheran Church.
During the first part of her married years, although Ruth had her hands full raising a family, she also wanted to work outside the home and from time to time held a variety of part-time jobs. When her children got older she decided a good part time job would be to drive a school bus for the large rural school district that encompassed Wonder Lake and Woodstock, Illinois. She drove the school bus for several years and then was offered the full-time position of Transportation Coordinator for that school district. She stayed in that professional position for many years and retired from it. Not being content in sitting around, after retirement Ruth and Calvin operated a concession/boat rental/bait shop business at the McHenry Dam and Moraine Hills State Parks in McHenry County, Illinois. After they sold the concession business and being an entrepreneur at heart, Ruth then started an ice-cream/yogurt business with her daughter Karen and eventually sold it and went into full retirement.
In addition to work Ruth had many interests and was extremely active. She was a doer, not a watcher, a participant not a side-liner. She exercised regularly her whole life and in the later years of her life each morning she religiously took a three mile walk with her dog. She did this up until her early 90’s when her debilitating illness robbed her of that favorite activity. Over her life she also spent time with varying amounts of intensity and duration swimming, riding a bike, hiking, walking, snow and water skiing, parasailing, lifting and a whole variety of other exercise activities. Ruth was also an avid reader and cross-word puzzle devotee. In her younger years she gave book reviews, was always a regular bible class attendee at the various churches where she was a member and in Carbondale belonged to a book club that she found socially exciting and mentally stimulating. In short, Ruth was a real person who touched in a positive way all who knew her.
Perhaps most importantly, in addition to being an extremely social and active individual devoted to family and friends, Ruth was also a person of very deep Christian faith. Through both good and bad times, her Christian faith was always unwavering and was her guide on how to live and in how to treat people. Wherever Ruth lived she attended a Lutheran Church and was diligent in attending church services and bible studies and in being active in the network of the social and service institutions for that particular church. Christian faith was her guide on how to live her life and most importantly, in how to treat family, friends and people of all beliefs, religions and ethnicities.
To the end Ruth was an exemplary example of loyalty, commitment, generosity and devotion to family and all the people she came to know and touch. She loved people and she was loved by all those who knew her. She always put the needs of others before her own. She was gregarious, she talked, she joked, she cried, she laughed at herself, she was compassionate and most certainly was empathetic to people who were not as blessed during their lives as she was. Most important to Ruth was her family. She was devoted to each and every one of her family members. Her love of family was always
unconditional. She will truly be missed by all members of her immediate and extended family, and certainly also by all her friends from Illinois, Michigan, Florida and all parts of the country. Her departure from this earth leaves a huge void in the lives of her family members and all who knew and loved her. Her physical presence may be gone, but her example, spiritual presence, love and the memories of her interactions with people will remain forever in the hearts of her family and all who knew her. All of her time on this earth made a positive difference in the human condition. She will be missed, but her life will always be celebrated.
A memorial service for Ruth will held at 11am on April 7, 2018, at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 1501 West Chautauqua St., Carbondale, IL, 62901. In lieu of flowers any memorial donations can be made to Epiphany Lutheran Church.