Ruth Avis Burnham, age 94, of Mitchell, SD, formerly of Platte, SD passed away the afternoon of July 3, 2019 at Firesteel Healthcare Center, Mitchell, SD under Hospice care. Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 PM Thursday, July 11, 2019 in Trinity Lutheran Church, Platte. Visitation will be Thursday one hour prior to services at the church, interment will be in the Platte City Cemetery following services.
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Ruth Avis (Helland) Burnham was born on February 20, 1925 at her parent’s farm home east of Platte, SD to Peter and Ida (Viken) Helland. She was baptized and confirmed at Morningside Lutheran Church, rural Geddes, SD.
Ruth attended grade school at the Helland-Hockey Country School, a half mile from her home. She graduated from Platte High School in 1942.
After graduation at the age of 17, Ruth traveled to Oregon and helped in the war effort working in a glove factory in Carlton, Oregon. Ruth returned to South Dakota and attended Black Hill’s Teachers College in Spearfish and earned her teaching degree. Ruth’s teaching career continued into the 1960’s and taught in both country and town schools in Oregon and South Dakota.
On June 27, 1946 Ruth married her high school sweetheart, Vernon Burnham, at her parent’s farm home, east of Platte. The newlyweds lived in Oregon for two years before returning to Platte and residing at Ruth’s childhood home till 2008, when Vernon passed away. Ruth moved to Mitchell in December of 2008 and moved to Firesteel Healthcare Center in 2015. To this union two daughters were born, Veryl and Verylis.
Ruth was active in the Lutheran church, from teaching Sunday school, choir and circle. She was also active in the American Legion and Extension Club. Ruth held offices in all three organizations, from local to state level.
Ruth will always be remembered for her beautiful Soprano voice. She first sang publicly at age four and sang for her first funeral at age 10. Ruth was the “Go To” soloist for funerals, weddings and other events till the late 1980’s, when she lost her singing voice due to illness.
Ruth is survived by her daughter, Verylis Boyd and her husband, Warner (Clem) of Tea, SD. Along with numerous nieces and nephews in Oregon, Washington and Hawaii.
She is preceded in death by her husband, infant daughter, Veryl, her parents, her sister, Hannah, along with her brothers and sisters-in-law.
Memorials are asked to be directed to: Trinity Lutheran Women, PO Box 427, Platte, SD 57369 or Campbell-Timmerman American Legion Post #115 Auxiliary, c/o Bonnie Hoppe, PO Box 362, Platte, SD 57369.