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Ruth Heckenkamp

March 23, 1925 ~ June 29, 2014 (age 89)
RUTH K. HECKENKAMP

   Ruth Katherine Heckenkamp, 89, formerly of 2310 Spring, Quincy died at 3:50 p.m. Sunday (June 29, 2014) in North Adams Home in Mendon, Illinois under the most loving care of their staff and her daughter, Betsi, and grandson, Travis.

   Ruth was born March 23, 1925, a daughter of Ida Schroeder Phillips in Durham, Missouri. Ruth survived the Great Depression as a child, graduating from Quincy Senior High School in 1943. She attended secretarial school and married Lawrence P. Heckenkamp on May 21, 1949 in Springfield. Illinois. She worked her entire life while raising a family; one of the original Superwomen. During their marriage, Ruth worked at Motorola, for Adams County Civil Defense, and Coca-Cola. She retired as a secretary at the State of Illinois Department of Rehabilitation with twenty years of service. Her husband predeceased her in 1988, after 39 years of marriage.

   She is survived by her three children Douglas Heckenkamp (Sylvia) of  Onondaga, Michigan; Mary  Bondarenko (husband:Paul Wayne) of  Jackson, Michigan and Betsi Heckenkamp of Marcelline; three grandchildren, Elizabeth and Andrew Bondarenko of Jackson, MI and Travis Smith of Marcelline.  She is also survived by a cousin, Florence Lavery, and numerous nieces and nephews who were good to her and greatly loved. In addition to her husband, Larry, Ruth was preceded in death by her parents;her brother, John E. Phillips and his wife, Norma, and a sister, Sarah Jane Maynard, and a cousin Dorothy Lavery.

   Ruth was never one "to toot her own horn" but we will. She was always one to back the underdog. Ruth was ahead of her time supporting equal rights for minorities, mainly women. She wa a patron to Quanda and generously financed many wells in third world countries through Marion Medical Missions. Ruth was a founding member of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in Quincy and was honored for her volunteer services both representing children and as a member of their board as Statewide Volunteer of the Year. She was an advocate on behalf of children in the Juvenile Court system.  She was a long-time "Binkie Patrol" quilter, benefiting children in need of a blankie.  Ruth also believed in fair play in the workplace, and lead a successful unionization of her office for AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).   She was a long time driver for Meals on Wheels and in 2009 was added the the Hall of Fame for RSVP for twenty years and 2,000 hours of service.

   Ruth was a life-long learner. She returned to school later in life and graduated in the first graduating class from John Wood with her AA, where she was a long-time member of the Round Table discussion group. She earned her BA from Western Illinois University in 1982, when she was fifty. In the later 1960's she taught herself tho transcribe Braille, although she knew no one blind, and typed one Bible a year so that the blind could read the work of God. After doing this for 25 years she learned how to sign ( again not knowing anyone personally who was deaf). She then signed at different churches within Quincy so that deaf could hear the word of God. She lived her life as a member of the Lutheran faith. Her faith was a major priority in her life.

   Ruth traveled much of the world after her retirement often with her sister, Sarah Jane, and their close friend, Ann Viar. To name just a few of her destinations; Holland (brought back tulips), Alaska (stood on a glacier and watched the whales mate), Germany (learned more of her heritage), the Galapagos Islands (saw some really strange creatures), Switzerland (saw the Matterhorn), Egypt (rode camels) and virtually everywhere in the United States.

   Ruth was a dedicated member of numerous civic, social and community groups. She was a member of the Rocky Point Club, the Mississippi Paddle Wheelers, MENSA, the Adams County Home Extension Club, and the Solo Club. She was actively involved in the Democratic Women's League, ran for local office, and was a long-time election judge. She was a long-term member, conductor, and pianist for the Volunteer Voices. The Outdoor Club (through the YWCA/YMCA) enabled her and her sister to take family camping trips with a carload of kids all over the United States.

   Ruth loved dogs (especially Killer and Zena, who gave her much companionship and joy in her later years) and hated vegetables. She loved trees, flowers, and music.  She lead a very full life and is now with the Lord. Her epitaph reads as her life was lived; " I am but a stranger here, Heaven is my home".

   A memorial service will be held Thursday morning at 11:00 in the Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home with Pastor Tim Woodard officiating.  Inurnment will be in Greenmount Cemetery.

   Visitation will be held Thursday morning from 10:00 until the time of services at the funeral home.

   Ruth believed that flowers were wasted on the deceased. In lieu of flowers, these 2 charities were important to her; Marion Medical Missions (a ministry that builds shallow wells for clean water in Africa) and Homeward Bound Waggin", Inc (a local animal rescue and transport organization).
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