ROCHESTER - Ruth S. Mortensen, 94, died Thursday, September 9, 2010 at Samaritan Bethany Heights in Rochester. Ruth was born in Sioux City, IA on July 7, 1916 to Walter and Rose (Storm) Sloan. She graduated from Sioux City Central in 1932. Ruth received a Bachelor of Arts from Morningside College in 1938 and later attended Eastman School of Music and received her Masters Degree from UNI in 1973. Ruth married Mark A. Mortensen on June 29, 1946. She lived in Clinton, IA from 1946 to 2008.Music was very important to her and she was a concert pianist. She taught music for three years at Davenport, West Des Moines, and Ogden. She later taught music for 30 years at Camanche High School, retiring in 1983. During her teaching years, she directed a Swing Choir, many dinner theaters and musical productions. She was the choir director at the Evangelical Free Church in Clinton and was a director of the Clintones of Clinton until she was 90 years old. Ruth also enjoyed painting. Ruth is survived by six children, Jeanette (Ed) Bishop, of Norman, OK, Steve Mortensen, of Carmel Valley, CA, Stan (Sharron) Mortensen, of Steambrook, IL, Bruce Mortensen, of Tucson, AZ, Scott (Valerie) Mortensen, of San Antonio, TX, and Nancy (Alan) Bentley, of Rochester, MN; her sister, Carol Wheeler, of Burnet, TX; 17 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.Ruth is preceded in death by her husband, Mark; her parents; her son, Kent; and her brother, Paul.A private family burial will take place at Graceland Cemetery in Sioux City, IA.
"I''m of an age where you start reflecting on those people who influenced your life and you may not have thanked them as you should. Ruth is one of those I owe much to for her teaching. She gave me my first post-puberty voice lesson while I was studying piano with her in Clinton, my home town. As I''m listening to the Mendelssohn G-minor Piano Concerto, it brought her to mind. It was those two or three years of study that helped me to win a scholarship to St. Ambrose College where I would continue studying piano and voice. I''m now a piano teacher myself and professional singer and I can only hope that I can give my students what she gave me. She was a genuine inspiration and I will always remember her.
"I am saddened to hear of Ruth's passing, but know she enjoyed a full and rich life.I was one of her last students' classes prior to retirement at Camanche (class of 1983). She was incredibly gifted, and gave so generously (and patiently). When we are that age in HS, we really don't comprehend how much a person can impact them, but Ruth was a special person that we all remember so fondly. Her work ethic, her love of music, and her patience have all been an inspiration for over 28 years since I graduated. I also remember when I was singing Freddy Hill in My Fair Lady play (and the top notes were a bit too high for me), she just translated the song down a couple of half-steps, made a note on her music, and then just translated the key on the fly!!! Unbelievable!!! I am just now hearing of Ruth's passing, but did want to share my wonderful memories with her surviving relatives. What a treasure, and what great memories I carry thanks to Ruth. I hope this helps in your celebration of her life. Take care, and may God Bless..Mark Wellman"
"She was our Swing Choir director while I lived in Camanche. Several of the past members of the choir have been talking about our past experiences with her and as a singing group. My sincere best regards to all of your family. She was an absolutely wonderful person."
"To your loving family...I fondly remember parties at your house as a teenager...your Mother was dear to me..she taught me the love of music which I have shared with my children and grandchildren. I never would have been exposed to that wonderful world, but for her. I tried to stay in touch by card and letter, my friend, Ronni Willis Schoenle and I visied your Mother when she was in assisted living in Clinton. We had quite the wonderful sharing of laughs and memories.She touched so many lives and continues to touch mine still.I know the Heavenly choir will be much improved with her strong diectorship!May the Lord keep you all in His gentle hands.Love you, Mrs MPatricia Howard Colbert CHS class of 1964"