Ruth C. Perry, 98, of Albert Lea, passed away on April 13th, 2023, surrounded by family and friends at her home, Oak Park Place.
A celebration of life service will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, April 21, 2023, at The American Legion Post 56 in Albert Lea, MN, with military honors.
Ruth Charlotte Perry was born August 9th 1924, to Elmer and Jean (Brown) Perry in Northwood, IA. Ruth grew up during World War II and, coming from a military family, she wanted to enlist. While in high school, she shared that her cousin who was serving in the Navy, died on the Arizona in the attack on Pearl Harbor. She recalls the Governor of Iowa came to the Northwood school, where he honored her cousin and all those who lost their lives that day. “The whole town was there in attendance,” she commented. Her cousin’s passing and the service of other family members were in part what led Ruth to enlist in the military.
In 1944, Ruth entered the Army Air Corps during World War II, she served three years; then reenlisted in the United States Air Force to complete her 20 years of service, serving in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. As stated in the Albert Lea Tribune, “Ruth’s service took her from Germany, where she managed a base gymnasium to the United States Air Force Academy, where she wrote a book that taught women service members what was expected of them as members of the Air Force. Perry served as unit first sergeant as well as a recruiter, where she was responsible for a three-state region. Ruth retired in 1965."
Upon retirement, she became an employee of the Social Security Administration and served her nation for an additional 20 years before retiring once again in 1986.
“Ruth’s passion for volunteering turned to service organizations, she served as the chaplain within her local American Legion Post 56 in addition to serving breakfast twice a month for many years. She is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Post 447, as well as the American Legion Post 56. Ruth dedicated years of service to her sisters-in-arms as an officer of the Women Veterans of Minnesota and Women Veterans of Freeborn County,” the release stated.
Ruth, at 91 years young, was chosen for the 16th Freedom Honor Flight in 2015. Escorted by friends and fellow veteran, retired Chief Warrant Officer Deanna Luedke. Upon arrival in Washington D.C., they were welcomed by Senator Bob Dole and escorted to the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Wall, Lincoln Memorial, and then Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guards. The Air Force Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and Marine Corps War Memorial followed, with pictures and a time of reflection at all stops. Ruth said to be present at these memorials, to salute her fallen brothers and sisters of the military was an honor of a lifetime, for which she will always hold near and dear to her heart.
In 2019, Rasmussen College in partnership with Minnesota LYNX, awarded Ruth the “Inspiring Woman award” on military appreciation night, center court of the LYNX basketball game, at the Target Center in MPS. Ruth, 94 years young, received a standing ovation and thunderous applause during the award ceremony. In Ruth’s words, “I am so humbled to receive this award, but I accept it for all my sisters-in-arms for their service too.”
Ruth’s passions for the military and volunteering have earned her a myriad of honors. Listed here are some of Albert Lea area recipients where she relentlessly gave her time and talent over the years: St. John’s Lutheran Home, Knutson Place apartments, Oak Park Place, St. Theodores Catholic Church, Good Samaritan Center, Albert Lea Senior Center, Senior Resources, Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau, Salvation Army, United Way of Albert Lea, Albert Lea Arts Center, Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, Humane Society, ride services, Naeve Partners in Health, served as Chairman of the Advisory Board council for RSVP, Meals on Wheels, Grand Marshall 2018 Albert Lea Parade, District 241 Citizen of the Year, 2019 Minnesota Woman Veteran of the year, Outstanding Senior Citizen of Freeborn County, Health Alliance Volunteer of the Year, Good Samaritan Assisted Living Citizen of the Year, and Legionnaire of the Year, to name a few!
Ruth volunteered until she was 92 years old. Ruth made incredible contributions to the Albert Lea and Freeborn County areas, and continued to inspire, motivate, and encourage others, throughout all of her 98 years on this earth. To her country, her veterans, her friends and family, she gave her all. Ruth will always be remembered for her kind and humble nature along with her personal and professional leadership. While being interviewed by Dan Conrad from TV 6 News in 2018, Ruth stated, in the spirit of a true patriot, Ruth wants her honor and her story to serve as a reminder, “Remember what the flag means to us, I’d like people to remember that.”
Ruth C. Perry, always true to the Red, White, and Blue.
Ruth is survived by her brother Lawrence (Yvonne) Perry of Wabasha, many treasured nieces, nephews, and close friends.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Dale, Donald, Earl, Jerry, Ilene, and Lorraine.
A special thank you to Oak Park Place staff and tenants (Ruth loved her home and her resident friends and staff that work there) and to St. Croix Hospice staff for their kind and compassionate care while Ruth was in their care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are preferred to the Woman Veterans of Freeborn County.