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Ruth Arlene Krizek (1934-2024)

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Ruth Arlene Krizek was called home to her Lord Jesus Christ and peacefully passed away at age 89 on Jan. 3, 2024, in Salina, Kan. We, her sons and family, celebrate a life rich in love, laughter and enduring connections. Born to Alfred Naton Turner and Alice Aileen Miner on May 25, 1934, in Hoxie, Kan., during the Great Depression, Ruth embarked on a journey that unfolded into a beautiful tapestry of life of cherished moments, tragedies, challenges, successes, family times and joyous celebrations, all the while keeping her dignity, grace, charity, kindness and humor along the way to her last day with us. Mom recently said, “Life is wonderful, but you go from spinning and dancing on high heels to stumbling down your stairs in Velcro shoes in a quick moment.” We can assure you, mom’s spirit never stopped dancing on high heels!

Mom met the love of her life one Saturday night at age 19 at Bohemian Hall in Jennings, Kan., at a polka dance. Ruth, out on a date with another gentleman, was swept off her feet on the dance floor by a wild young Bohemian, Edgar Billy Krizek of Dresden, Kan. As was the tradition of the day, Ed tapped on the shoulder of her date, stepped in and took Ruth in his arms, the whirling dance of their love began and the rest was history. They united in marriage in 1955. Ed, a WWII veteran of the U.S. Navy and recent graduate of Kansas Wesleyan University, farmed land which incorporated the homestead of his immigrant Bohemian grandparents in Decatur County, Kan. They started their lives together in a ramshackle farmhouse in Dresden, Kan., next to the Rock Island Railroad Line, where the passenger train the Rock Island Rocket cruised by daily, much to the joy of the three young sons born to them in Dresden, and much to mom’s dismay. After deciding there had to be an “easier way to be poor,” Ed and Ruth moved to Ellsworth, Kan., where their youngest, and last, son Brad was born in 1961 — four rowdy boys in six years — a brave soul was she!

Ed and Ruth started a new State Farm Insurance agency, and together, they built a home and a family and a community together in Ellsworth. Ed was a devoted church, community and civic leader in Ellsworth, and Ruth was dedicated to her church, school and community groups and always by his side. Krizek Park in Ellsworth is named after Ed to honor his contributions to the community, and we all know he was nothing without mom! Ed and Ruth were a formidable team in guiding (and corralling) their pack of four tightly-knit boys in the idyllic, thriving farm community of their boyhood.

After Ed’s untimely passing in 1979 at the age of 53, and the passing of son Brad nine months later, the memories in Ellsworth were too much for Ruth to bear, and she moved to Salina, where she lived until her passing. There, many years later, she met a kind and wonderful gentleman, Al Thiessen, and they were joined in marriage until his death. Ruth found great joy in her church community and in her small singing quartet, The Sunflower Grannies, as they performed song and dance and stand-up comedy for nursing homes and community festivals around Kansas. They brought great joy to so many, as was her way.

Ruth, a woman devoted to “cutting edge fashion” often involving leopard dotted clothing, reds, blacks, glitter and sequins, along with her assortment of 167 pairs of wild shoes, was one of the wonderful human beings a person could cross paths with as she made her way around her new community as she made friends and established a new life after Ed’s passing. Ruth was a powerful spirit and shared her wit, humor and bright spirit with all the world around her. She was an endearing soul and was treated with so much respect and kindness in Salina by people like the paper delivery man, younger neighbors, hairdresser, postman, trash man, local fire department (who she called every six months to come, “no siren or lights ablazing please,” to change her smoke alarm batteries). She loved the joys of the small-town Kansas life, full of wonderful, caring people in both Ellsworth and Salina. Every person around her was charmed and wanted to be around her and be kind to her, for she was kind to them. Yes, they saw the Ruth we all loved and will desperately miss in our lives each day.

As time passed, most family gatherings, including our last over Thanksgiving, resulted in sore rib cages from laughter as Ruth related jokes and story after story about the antics of the four young rascals she unleashed upon the world and her constant attempts to put water on the fires ... yes, there was a fire. While displaying a stern face and acting firm and resolute when we misbehaved, we could all see the smile of amusement lurking under the pursed lips, and we all knew how much she loved and cherished us. Ruth was the best mom a boy could ever hope for, providing love, comfort, unending support and even a stern verbal lashing when needed after yet another disaster-narrowly-averted at the hands of one of her four “active” boys. Mom believed in her boys and defended them like a lioness, and so we all believed in ourselves. We have found her guidance and example and presence a guiding light in each of our lives, to this day and beyond.

Ruth is survived by her sons Craig L. Krizek (Lisa), Norton, Kan., and son, Dane; Brian E. Krizek (Kim), McPherson, Kan., and children Claire (Spenc), Graham (Grace) and Cole (Colleen); and Curtis A. Krizek (Jennifer), Mission Hills, Kan., and children Ford (Laura) Krizek, Lindsay (Alyssa) Krizek and Kylie (Steve) Finno. She was also blessed with nine great-grandchildren.

She was overflowing with pride in her sons and their spouses, her grandchildren and her great grandchildren. No day will pass when her family members fail to think of her and treasure her beautiful soul, her incredible spirit and fortitude and the example she set for all of her family to “live life looking to the future instead of into the rear-view mirror, with love, gratitude, humor and grace, no matter what calamities may come.” She will be dearly missed, and yet we are so thankful for 89 years of a beautiful life; an incredible blessing to us, for which we hold eternal gratitude. Her faith in her Heavenly Father and the eternal life that awaited her has been an inspiration to all those who loved her and were around her.
While those of us left here in our human form will greatly miss her in so many ways, we can be sure the good Lord and all of her loved ones now around her in Heaven, are sharing many hugs and laughs and enjoying a new bright spirit by their sides in God‘s Kingdom. (But mom, a caution on certain jokes you might want to share with Jesus, although we suspect he has a great sense of humor!)

A Celebration of Life will be hosted by the family in the spring, date and location to be determined. Memorial tributes may be made to the City of Ellsworth, memo: Krizek Park Funds, and sent to Carlson-Geisendorf Funeral Home, 500 S. Ohio St., Salina, KS 67401. Condolences can be shared at

Our Dear Mom...
When we see a hawk soaring above the prairie,
a beautiful sunrise or sunset paint the endless Kansas skies,
or a butterfly alight upon a flower in the garden,
we shall think of you, and feel you close to our hearts.
Your love lives on!
Godspeed Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother Ruth