Ruth Ellen Kibbe was born on April 18, 1923 in Marion, Michigan and passed away on May 5, 2021 in Richland, Washington. She was the fifth child of Frank and Nora Coleman. She had 4 older siblings - Agnes, Dorothy, Barbara, and Lyle and a younger sibling - Lelah. In 1927 the family moved to Manton, Michigan where Ruth lived the majority of her life. Ruth graduated from Manton High School in 1942 (when she passed away, she was one of last three remaining classmates). On January 5, 1943 she married her high school sweetheart, Lyle A. Kibbe. Ruth and Lyle had 3 children, Dennis, William (Bill), and Doris. Ruth and Lyle lived in that Elm Street house until his death in 2000 and Ruth continued to live there until 2016. She then lived with her son Dennis until November 2017. Her niece Brenda Groth then provided her care until June 2018. At that time, she moved to Richland, Washington to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Doris and Jeff Ayres.
When Lyle was drafted in 1942, she followed him to Texas and remained there until he shipped out for North Africa. Ruth returned home to Manton and settled in with her parents at 308 Elm Street. During World War II Ruth went to Minneapolis for Tele-typist school. Upon completion she was assigned to Wright Patterson Field in Ohio.
Ruth worked outside the home for many years. She worked at the B.F. Goodrich factory in Cadillac, Michigan until it closed. She then went to work at the Voice of Music factory that opened in the same location and stayed with them until they closed. Her final job was with Manton Industries. She started her job there shortly after they opened and retired in 1985.
Ruth always made sure that her family had everything they needed to be successful. She bought a typewriter, a set of World Book Encyclopedias and lots of books. She enjoyed reading and when her eyesight began to fail she began borrowing “books on tape” from the Library for the Blind. In the 10 years or so that she got books from them she borrowed more than 500 books. She was willing to listen to almost all the books that were sent to her but some she didn’t finish because they were too raunchy or risqué. She loved sharing things she learned from the books and would say “I think you might like this one.”
Ruth and Lyle enjoyed pulling their travel trailer, camping, and going places. They made two trips to Alaska to visit Doris and Jeff. They were in Fairbanks when the first barrel of oil came down the Alyeska Pipeline. They also enjoyed catching salmon. They also travelled to Massachusetts to visit her sister Lelah, Salt Lake City to visit with Pat McCane, and back to the Pacific Northwest for each of her grandson’s graduations. She was also there in 2002 to send her grandson Dustin off to Army boot camp, just like his Grandpa Lyle. They also enjoyed going to the Backwaters in Mesick or some other local camping area with friends to relax, have a few beers and play some poker.
Ruth and Lyle also enjoyed snowmobiling. They would take off on some pretty awesome adventures to the UP with their friends. They help form the Manton Snowdevils snowmobile club and were active until 2000. They were also active in the state of Michigan Snowmobile Association.
Ruth is survived by her son Dennis (Phyllis), daughter Doris (Jeff) Ayres and daughter-in-law Mary Kibbe. She also thought of Lars Norvik, the Swedish exchange student that lived with them from 1969-70 as her son as well. He lives in Västerås, Sweden. She was very proud of each of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She could remember all of their names and prided herself that she didn’t miss a birthday. Her 6 grandchildren are Bradley (Dawn) Kibbe of Middle River, Maryland; Gary Kibbe of Columbus, Ohio; Lisa Bredahl of the US Virgin Islands; Kevin (Tammy) Kibbe of Frankenmuth, Michigan; Ryan Ayres of Pasco, Washington; Dustin (Carrie) Ayres of Spring, Texas. She has 20 great grandchildren - Trent and Alana Bredahl; Megan Hoffmaster; Camryn, Jessica and Lola Kibbe; Justin and Corey Dushane; Noah and Mackenzie Kibbe; Gwen and Owen Kibbe; Audrey and Ericka Arias; Marisa, Madison, Camden, Parker, Norah, and Lincoln Ayres. She also has 2 great grandchildren - Lincoln and Parker Hoffmaster. She is also survived by special friends Veronica Martinez and Mariel Gentges of Pasco, Washington. Ruth is also survived by her sister-in-law Marilyn Peek of Traverse City. She also leaves behind many, many nieces, and nephews and all their children. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband of 57 years, Lyle Anderson Kibbe, her son William Dean Kibbe, her grandson William Randolph Kibbe, her daughter-in-law Lucille Kibbe, her parents, Frank and Nora Coleman, her siblings Agnes (Rollins) Morgan, Dorothy Christie, Barbara Johnson, Lelah Greenaway, and Lyle Coleman.
Per her request she was cremated, and her remains have been interred next to her husband and her parents in Liberty Township Cemetery in Manton, Michigan. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 25 at the Manton Methodist Church at 2 p.m. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service.
The family requests memorial contributions be made to the Manton Veteran’s museum (Manton Area Museums/Attn: Military Museum/P.O. Box 86/Manton, MI 49663).