Ruth Kjelland Carpenter

A long-time resident of Prior Lake, Ruth Kjelland Carpenter, age 101, passed away peacefully early Thursday afternoon, May 15, 2014, at Priscilla’s Place in Richfield, Minnesota. Ruth was born January 8, 1913, in Valley City, North Dakota, to parents Olaf and Hulda Andrea (Haneberg) Kjelland.
Ruth grew up on a farm in Green Township, with siblings Vibekka (Ed) Hummel, Sigrid (Willard) Flynn, Christian, Oscar, Agnes (Don) Brooks and a long list of first cousins, uncles and aunts. Her school years were spent at Green Consolidated School and during the high school years, Ruth was named to the All-County Girls Basketball Team. She attended Valley City State Normal School in the 1930s, where Ruth earned a teacher certification. She taught in one-room schools in rural North Dakota, before returning to teach high school at Green School.
Ruth met Gayle K. Carpenter in Siren, Wisconsin, and on August 1, 1941, they exchanged wedding vows in Pine City, Minnesota. Ruth and Gayle were blessed with four children: Larry, Leslie, Lowell and Andrea. In 1946, they moved the family to Prior Lake from St. Paul. From 1956 until she retired in 1971, Ruth taught grades 5 and 6 in the Prior Lake School District. She and Gayle spent 18 winters in Florida, mostly in Pinellas Park, where they enjoyed their time square dancing and playing cards with many friends. Ruth’s beloved husband Gayle passed on November 4, 1991, and in 1994, she moved to Fergus Falls to be closer to family. Until that time, Ruth was an active member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Prior Lake.
Left to honor Ruth’s life and mourn her death are her sons, Larry Carpenter (Judith Taylor) of Minneapolis, MN, Les (Jo) Carpenter of Plains, MT, Lowell (Judy) Carpenter of Fergus Falls, MN; daughter, Andrea Moen (Chris Berger) of Willowbrook, IL; and ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She will be remembered by many friends, relatives and former students for her kind heart, her accepting attitude and her strong spirit, whatever her circumstances.
Ruth is preceded in death by husband Gayle; daughter-in-law, Gracie Carpenter and son-in-law, Tom Moen.
A memorial gathering will be held on Monday, June 16, 2014, from 10 am – 12 pm (noon)at Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home, 4565 Pleasant Street Avenue SE, in Prior Lake, MN.
Memorials are preferred and will be distributed by the family in Ruth’s memory.
Ballard-Sunder Funeral Home and Cremation, Prior Lake Chapel, proudly served the Carpenter family. www.ballardsunderfuneral.com