Ruth Irene Peck, 95, of Greenwood, Ark., passed away Thursday (June 6, 2019) in Fort Smith, Ark. She was the youngest of four children, born Jan. 23, 1924 to Frank and Clara Williams on the family farm, south of Bloomington. Ruth was educated in the Bloomington public schools and, much later in life, attended art classes at Heartland Community College and Illinois State University.
Ruth was a war bride, marrying Herbert Otto Peck (a sailor in the United States Navy) in November 1942. After the war, Ruth and Herbert had two children, Donna and Larry. Throughout their nearly 28 years of marriage, Ruth and Herbert traveled with their children extensively throughout the United States, venturing into nearly every state in the union at one time or another.
Having started her working career with State Farm Insurance Company in Bloomington, Ruth eventually made her way into the real estate industry; first as a sales person and then as a broker for her own Peck Realty.
While still running a successful real estate business and being an accomplished seamstress, Ruth opened and operated a bridal salon in Gridley, where she made beautiful wedding gowns and accessories for blushing brides and their attendants.
During her long and active life, Ruth was involved with many clubs and benevolent organizations. She was a member for more than 50 years in the Bloomington Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star (OES), holding positions as worthy matron and grand lecturer, as well as worthy high priestess of the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem. She was also past president of the Gridley Woman's Club, past president of the Gridley Home Extension, and a former member of the McLean County Historical Society. She was especially proud of her membership in the Letitia Green Stevenson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution by virtue of being the great-great-great-granddaughter of John Cutright and John Gassaway who were soldiers in the American Revolutionary War.
Ruth was an avid hobbyist who enjoyed sewing, painting, crocheting and quilting. Ruth was also a very accomplished bridge player and was a member of several bridge groups, playing bridge with friends right up until two weeks before her death.
Following the death of her husband Herbert, Ruth was married to Russell Iverson of Gridley until his death in 1994.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Clara Williams; siblings, Leota Williams Poland, Glenn Williams and Oren Williams; and husbands, Herbert Peck and Russell Iverson.
She is survived by her two children, Donna Peck (and her partner Joseph Davis), Greenwood, Ark., and Larry Peck (and his wife Diane), Clinton. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Barbara Tuftie (Tim), Erik Willke (Heidi), Wendy Swartz, Erica Peck and Travis Peck (Kate). Ruth is also survived by 23 great-grandchildren, Brooke Sauter (Grant), Tyler Tuftie, Brianna Tuftie, Jessie Horsman, Xavier Willke, Lydia Willke, Austin Sawatzki, Briana Sawatzki, Libbey Thayer, Allie Thayer, Garrett Swartz, Raya Swartz, Kyle Scoles, Kailee Scoles, Carson Kuntz, Brody Kuntz, Malory Kuntz, Jaece Kuntz, Brody Peck, Tyler Peck, Jackson Peck, William Volkening, Elisebeth Volkening. And, finally, Ruth is survived by five great-great-grandchildren, Ellie Sauter, Riley Probus, Mavi Thayer, Isiaha Sariana and Cason Sariana.
Ruth will be deeply missed by her extensive family and friends, but there is much comfort in knowing she lived a good life, had many adventures and accomplishments, and retained her ability to live independently in her own home and drive her own car.
“A life well-lived is a precious gift, of hope and strength and grace, from someone who has made our world a brighter, better place. It's filled with moments, sweet and sad, with smiles and sometimes tears, with friendships formed and good times shared, and laughter through the years. A life well-lived is a legacy of joy and pride and pleasure, a living, lasting memory our grateful hearts will treasure.” (Author Unknown)
Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, 1115 E. Washington St., Bloomington. Ruth's funeral will follow at 11 a.m. Friday at Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home, Bloomington, followed by burial at East Lawn Memorial Gardens, Bloomington (across from the airport). Memorials may be made in Ruth's name to the National Stroke Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America or a charity of the donor's choice.
Condolences may be made to www.calvertmemorial.com.