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Ruth Newel

Lead Summary

May 28, 1922 — Jan. 2, 2017
Ruth A Newel, 94, peacefully slipped into the arms of her Lord surrounded by family on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, in West Des Moines.
Ruth suffered a series of strokes, which lead to a rapid decline in her health in the past year. Services will be held at Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Granger on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017 at 11 a.m. The family will receive friends from 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, at Emmanuel United Methodist in Granger. Burial will follow at a later date in Fenton.
Ruth was born May 29, 1922, in Berger, Mo., to Fred and Hulda (Schake) Preul — the third of four children. Since she was the third girl, she always contended that she was the “Cinderella” of the family — an opinion not shared by her siblings.  She attended school in several different communities since her father was a Methodist pastor and the family moved due to his assignments. Ruth graduated from Sumner in 1940. She attended Buena Vista College in Storm Lake — receiving a teaching certificate. Ruth started her teaching career in Woodward.
Ruth met Lyle Newel upon returning to her parents’ home in Fenton.  Ruth married Lyle Newel on Nov. 25, 1943. They settled in Fenton, where they farmed the homestead and Ruth continued to teach (elementary) for a number of years. To this union, three children were born — Dennis, Suzanne and Jan. Lyle and Ruth enjoyed traveling, square dancing and playing cards. Ruth and Lyle had wintered in Texas for a while — where many new friends were made.  Ruth was widowed in 1976. Ruth moved to Grime in 2000 to be closer to family. She thoroughly enjoyed attending family activities.
Ruth was a member of United Methodist Church in Fenton, and more recently at the Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Granger.  She was actively involved in the United Methodist Church and Women’s Circle — holding numerous offices over the years including Spencer District representative. 
Through serving the Spencer District, she made many friends over the state of Iowa. She also sang in the church choir for many years. Ruth was a founding member of the Town and Country Women’s Club in Fenton and served in many offices in this organization. She was known for her inspiration and ability to share this gift through her letter writing,
Ruth was highly spirited character with a great sense of humor, which she maintained throughout her life. She had many interests including painting, flower gardening and reading. A known prankster with both friends and family — she kept things “stirred up” wherever she was. Grandkids would call her “Gram Cracker” —never knowing what she might gift them — a lump of coal at Christmas, “white elephants gifts” dug out from the basement or garage or some sage advice found in one of her infamous letters.  Her tenacity and orneriness is probably a contributing factor to a long and well-lived life.  
Shopping and finding a bargain became a full time career in later life. No matter what she wore – she always had the appearance of a real class act.  Although, nothing took more precedence in later years than her grandchildren and great grandchildren who were the light of her life.  She contended that she felt so blessed to have been given so many years in order to meet and share the lives of these precious little ones.
Incidentally, her middle initial stood for Amanda - which name she detested.  So, we will honor her memory by not mentioning or sharing this little gem.  Gotcha Ruth!!
Ruth is survived by her son, Dennis (Joan E.) Newel of Dallas Center; daughter, Suzanne (Jerry) Wikert of Marion and Jan Cade of Omaha, Neb. Ruth has eight grandchildren — Michaela Henricksen, Chrissy Deardorff, Scott Newel, Mark Newel, Christopher Wikert, Andrea Faas, Frank Cade, Leisel Mitchell and 19 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Fred and Hulda Preul, a brother and two sisters, spouse, Lyle Newel and a son-in-law, Gregory Cade.
A special thank you to those who made Ruth’s life a little brighter this past year — especially her friends at Cornerstone Commons in Johnston, Adel Assisted Living staff and residents and the staff at Fountain West in West Des Moines.  
We know that “Gram Cracker” would forever be indebted to her granddaughters — Michaela and Chrissy — who were a constant presence in her final hours.
Contributions may be made to the Emmanuel United Methodist Church — Granger or the Fenton United Methodist Church — Fenton. Online condolences will be welcomed at
A Memorial Service will be held in the spring at Fenton prior to the burial services.

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