Ruth M. Rife

July 22, 1923 - December 3, 2020
David J. Jansen
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Ruth M. Rife age 97, a long-time resident of Oswego, Kansas passed away at 6:00 a.m. Thursday December 3, 2020 at Medicalodges Gran Villas Columbus, Kansas.

Ruth Maxine Goodrich was born July 22, 1923 in Eldon, Ok. to Joseph W. and Pearl Ann (Tudor) Goodrich. Her mother died less than a year after Ruth’s baby sister, Virginia, was born. One of Ruth’s greatest joys, as an adult, was finding the whereabouts and learning about the life of Virginia through a granddaughter’s inquiry.

Ruth lived with several different loving aunts and uncles while her father sought employment until rejoining him and her stepmother and two stepsisters at age 8. She graduated from Lyons High School Lyons, Kansas in 1941 and married Kenton Douglas Rife February 2, 1942 in Murdock, Kansas. They lived in Labette County all their married life, most of it south of Oswego. The couple celebrated sixty-six years of marriage. Kenton preceded her in death on September 13, 2008.

Even though Ruth was a “city girl,” she adapted to farm life embracing all there was. From gardening and canning to milking cows and teaching baby calves to drink from a bottle, she did it all. Feeding the neighbor men who joined together to fill silos and hay lofts was a joyful job.

She also worked several jobs outside their home. She was a cashier at IGA, clerk at Groomers Dime Store, superb cook for Sunnyview Grade School, an artist at Chatham Pottery and taught art for LCC extension class. Ruth also sold tickets and popcorn at a movie theater as a teenager which is where she developed a love for the big screen. As a young bride she was quite excited when on their first anniversary Kenton said he had a surprise. She just KNEW they would get to go to the movies, a luxury for a young farmer and his bride. You can imagine her “surprise” when Kenton came home with several rabbits to be butchered! Happy Anniversary!

Ruth was an active member of several organizations including the 101 Homemakers Club, community and project leader for the 101 Go-Getters H-H Club, served on the extension board, and was a Sunday School Teacher and member of Oswego First Methodist Church.
She was a talented artist winning awards in art shows and fairs. Her family was the lucky recipient of much of her work. For many years at Christmas she invited her family to choose from her “flea market” where that year’s creations and painting would be up for grabs. Those works of art are precious possessions.

Kenton and Ruth brought three sons and two daughters into the world. They led by example to be loving, kind and caring and have a good sense of humor. Laughter IS the best medicine.

Surviving them to carry on the Rife tradition and family name are: David and JoAnn Rife; Grove, Oklahoma, Ronnie and Linda Rife, Susan Bates and Karla Cook all of Oswego.
Twelve grandchildren: Randy Rife, Ronda Rife, Nicki Tomlinson, Tina Shoup, Nolan Rife, Jeff Rife, John Rife, Chris Bates, Drew Bates, Brady Bates, Joni Duran, and Kim Cook. Fourteen great grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

Preceding her in death were her husband, son Stanley and daughter-in-law Terri, a son-in-law Lee Bates, her sister Virginia and many beloved sisters and brother in-law.

A visitation will be from 6:00-7:30p.m. Sunday evening December 6 at First United Methodist Church in Oswego. The memorial celebration is Monday December 7 at 10:30a.m. also at the church, with burial at Oswego Cemetery following the service. Social distancing and mask wearing will be observed. Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church or Harry Hines Hospice. The family has entrusted Derfelt Funeral Homes for arrangements. Online condolences can be made at