Ruth May Powell Brunner
Ruth was born June 1, 1931, to Kenneth R. Powell and Marie L. Smith at Alliance City Hospital. She passed from this life a few hundred yards away from the same spot she entered the world on October 8, 2018, surrounded by family and friends so numerous a sign had to be posted to keep out any more visitors.
She entered grade school at the Science Hill one-room school, with sister, Louise Powell White. The Powell family moved to 1045 S. Linden Ave. Alliance, Ohio during WWII, and Ruth completed her schooling in the Alliance City Schools in 1949. Ruth participated in drama and vocal music in high school, briefly flirting with studying drama at Bowling Green University, but opted to enter into the bookkeeping profession at Robertson Supply then of Alliance, and now Columbus as well, where she became that firm’s first punch card operator.
The evening of high school graduation was spent celebrating with classmates, including Ken (Kenny) Brunner to whom she was distantly related. They held hands and counted the stairs on the Wm. McKinley monument that night and then counted off the next 65 years together, marrying November 11, 1950 at Bethel Church. Their first child, Deborah Marie, was born the next year and Ruth and Ken settled into the life of a young farm couple in Knox Township, becoming active in the Mile Branch Grange and the Bethel Church. Ruth, cooked for thrashers, participated in local barn dances, planted gardens and “put up” vegetables. She continued her singing with a quartet of other young wives. Ruth was prolific host and home decorator and with Ken formed two Saturday night card clubs including one with Ken’s best friend, Don McDaniel, and his wife Ann. They raised their families together, buried their husbands, and Ann was with Ruth, holding her hand on the day she departed life some 65 years later.
In 1953, Ken and Ruth bought Valley View farm on a hillside overlooking the Mahoning River Valley in Knox Twp., where they would spend the remainder of their lives improving and beautifying. They moved their possessions on a hay wagon with the lead cows tied behind it and the rest of the herd following. Ruth last visited the farm on a sunny Saturday in September. Children came soon after the move to Valley View Farm; Rick 1954, Rebekah 1956 and Linda Smith Crawford and Walter W Smith, courtesy of the Columbiana County Probate Court in August 1960. Many children would find summer homes and life lessons at Valley View farm over the years, including special “sons” and farmhands, Mark McVicker and Mark Wagner.
After her children were raised, Ruth resumed her professional career at Barnett Insurance Agency and then Hatherill Insurance Agency. Ruth was an astute political observer and opinion giver from her daughter-in-law, Jennifer’s two state wide campaigns to her grandson Ben’s current service at the White House. Ken and Ruth were world class grandparents from weeks at the farm, organizing trips to NYC, to traveling to games, recitals, plays and performances and even coming with livestock to Grandparent’s Day in Columbus.
On Valentine’s Day 1982, Ruth became a member of the Friends of Bill W. Ken and Ruth remained active members through the rest of their lives. This lead to many more who found respite and comfort at Valley View Farm and many new friends, not the least of which has been Jewel Walter, who was a loving live-in companion for Ruth and Ken in their respective final days on the farm.
Ruth was preceded in death by Ken; daughter, Deborah Marie; parents; step-dad, Wade Hoover; 2nd parents, George and Lera Brunner; her infant brothers; and granddaughter, Jennifer Stanley Mays. She is survived by her children, Rebekah (Fred) Hobbs of Alliance, Rick (Jennifer) Brunner of Columbus, Walter (Marcia) Smith of Sebring, and Linda Stanley Crawford of Alliance; grandchildren, Jacob Hobbs, Benjamin Hobbs, John (Erika) Brunner, Laura (Mo) Brunner Camara, Kate (Pat)Brunner Quinn, Michael (Susan) Stanley, and Bret (Kathy) Smith; 11.6 great-grandchildren; and one great-great grandson; and the son of her mother’s twin and “brother” Capt. Don (Shirley) Swietzer of Canton.
The family wishes to thank the fantastic staff of the Alliance Community Care Center, Alliance Hospice and Salem Visiting Nurses Association for their wonderful care of Ruth in her final months and weeks.
Donations in her honor can be directed to Alliance Hospice, Salem Visiting Association or Bethel Church.
Visiting hours will be held Friday, Oct. 12, from 6-8 p.m. at Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 S. Union Ave. Alliance and at Bethel United Church of Christ 2570 Buck Road Beloit Ohio 44609 on Saturday Oct. 13, from 10-11:30 a.m. with services at 11:30 a.m., with visiting Pastor Neal Mann officiating.
Arrangements are by Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home 75 S. Union Ave., Alliance, OH 44601. Friends may register online at www.ctcfuneral.com