Cover photo for Ruth Ena Tibben's Obituary
Ruth Ena Tibben Profile Photo
1916 Ruth 2017

Ruth Ena Tibben

October 6, 1916 — April 3, 2017

Ruth Ena Tibben, the daughter of Chris and Inger A. (Madsen) Olsen, was born October 6, 1916, at her parents’ home in Douglas Township, Audubon County east of Exira, Iowa and died April 3, 2017, at the Exira Care Center in Exira, Iowa at the age of 100 years, 6 months, and 7 days.
Ruth was baptized and confirmed at the Danish Lutheran Church in Audubon, Iowa. She attended Audubon county rural schools then graduated from the Viola High School with the Class of 1934. Ruth always had a passion for horses so after she graduated she traveled to Wyoming where she worked at the Cross Sabre Dude Ranch for the summer. She then moved to Chicago, Illinois and was employed as a Nanny for several years.
On September 5, 1940, she was united in marriage to John Donald Tibben in Maryville, Missouri. They were blessed with three children John, Michael, and Margo. They farmed near Exira for a few years. When World War II began they moved to Oakland, California to help in the War effort. John was a welder in the Navy ship yards. After the War ended they returned to the Exira area and farmed for a short time before moving to Carthage, Missouri where they continued to farm. During the weekends, John would drive to Kansas City, Missouri and worked as a welder. All during this time Ruth was a homemaker taking care of John and raising the children. The family eventually moved to Kansas City where they settled for a few years. They purchased a motel and café in Mountain Home, Arkansas which they operated for several years then traded the business for a farm near Bigflat, Arkansas where they primarily raised livestock. John went to Fairbanks, Alaska and was a welder building bridges and high rise buildings. During the summer months the family would move to Alaska then return to the farm in the winter months. In the early 1970’s they sold the farm, lived in North Dakota for a short time before retiring to their home near Maple Lake, Minnesota. They returned to the Audubon /Exira area in the early 1980’s finally settling in Exira. John died March 21, 2010. Ruth lived in her home before moving to the Exira Care Center in November of 2012.
Ruth attended the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira, Iowa. She enjoyed gardening, taking bus trips to Branson, Missouri to see the shows, and going on the bus to visit the many casinos. But most of all she enjoyed spending time with her family.
Preceding her in death was her husband John D. Tibben; her daughter Margo Wilkinson; her parents; her brothers and sister Carl and wife Imogene Olsen, Henry Olsen, Leo and wife Katherine Olsen, Eli Olsen, Paul Olsen, Chris Olsen and his wife, John and wife Ruby Olsen, and Jane and husband Robert Wahlert.
Survivors include her sons John Tibben of Jewel, Iowa and Michael Paul and wife Linda Tibben of Bigflat, Arkansas; her grandchildren Steven and wife Ruth Passmore of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Kimberly Wood of Exira, Iowa, Thomas and wife Laura Wood of New Prague, Minnesota, and Michael and wife Jojo Tibben of Arkansas; her great grandchildren Jeffrey Passmore, David Passmore, John Passmore, Jessica Wood, Kyla Schapekahm, Brandon Schapekahm, Alyssa Schapekahm, Riley Wood, and Jarrett Wood; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
The family will meet with friends on Thursday evening, April 6, 2017, at 5:00 P.M. at the Kessler Funeral Home in Exira, Iowa. Funeral services will be conducted by Pastor Steven Frock on Friday afternoon, April 7, 2017, at 2:00 P.M. at the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira. Interment will be in the Exira Cemetery in Exira. The casket bearers will be Michael Tibben, Steve Passmore, Tom Wood, Jessica Wood, David Passmore, and Kirby Kitelinger.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Starts at 5:00 pm (Central time)

Kessler Funeral Homes, Inc. - Exira

234 West South Street, Exira, IA 50076

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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Exira Cemetery

, Exira, IA 50076

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