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Ruth Ellen Staehling Swartwood, 84

May 22, 2009

Blue Earth — Ruth Ellen Staehling Swartwood, age 84, of Blue Earth, formerly of St. Peter, died May 18, 2009, at St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center in Blue Earth. Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 23, 2009, at Woodland Hills Chapel in Mankato. Interment was at Woodland Hills Memorial Park.

Ruth was born May 10, 1925, in Dundee, Iowa to Conrad and Rose (Stage) Staehling. She was a student of Anna John Silber’s class in Piano Pedagogy at Bethany Lutheran College in 1939. She graduated from Mankato High School in 1942 and then attended Bethany Lutheran College from 1942-1943. She went on to attend Mankato State Teachers College from 1943-1945, St. Olaf College in Northfield from 1945-1947 where she received a Bachelor of Music degree, and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., from 1948-1949 where she received a Master of Music degree. On June 10, 1950, she was united in marriage to Lester Swartwood in Mankato.

Ruth began her piano teaching career at the age of 14, giving private instruction in Mankato. She then taught piano at Bethany Lutheran College, Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, and also did private instruction in Forest City, Lakes Mills, Iowa, and Atlantic, Iowa, and in St. Peter. She retired in 1988.

She was a member of the American College of Musicians National Guild of Piano Teachers, the American College of Musicians National Guild of Piano Teachers Hall of Fame, Music Teachers National Association, Minnesota Music Teachers Association, Minnesota Valley Music Teachers Association, Union Presbyterian Church in St. Peter, PEO, Order of Eastern Star, and was a leader in the Camp Fire Girls.

She is survived by three children; L. David (Kathy) Swartwood of Andover, Sara (Daniel) Duden of Blue Earth, Paul Swartwood of Blackduck; grandchildren, Jason (Ruth) Swartwood, Robert Swartwood, Blake (Sara) Duden, Rebecca Duden, Hope (Jason) Vermeer, Chris Winner, Holly (Joe) Reinhardt; great-grandchildren, Andrea, Justin, and Josh Vermeer.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and brother, Richard.