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Ruth Janet Rowley

April 17, 1918 ~ June 17, 2019 (age 101)

Ruth was born April 17, 1918 in Knoxville, IL to Eben Swan and Hattie Louise (Peterson) Nelson, the second of 4 daughters.  She passed away on June 17, 2019 at Oakview Nursing Home at age 101.  

As a student nurse, she met the love of her life, Robert D. Rowley, prior to her graduation in May 1939.  Ruth and Robert married Jan. 19, 1940 in Knoxville IL and moved to Iowa City for Robert to finish his M.D.  Ruth worked at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and hospitals in San Diego CA and Galesburg IL while Bob served in WWII.  Ruth and Bob returned to Burlington in 1957, when Bob opened his private practice in General Surgery. 

Ruth was an active member of First United Methodist Church, Burlington, P.E.O.,and King’s Daughters.  Ruth enjoyed attending Burlington Municipal Band concerts, Civic Music shows, SE Iowa Symphony concerts, and touring Broadway productions.

After Bob’s death from ALS in 1978, Ruth volunteered tirelessly for the ALS Society of America, counseling ALS patients.  She established the Robert D. Rowley Healthcare Scholarship in his memory.  She was awarded the ALS Society of America Volunteer of the Year Award in 1982 and was honored as one of the 9 Who Care by KCRG TV in 1998.  

Ruth is survived by her 4 children: Dr. Stephen (Johanna Caslander) Rowley of Bainbridge Island WA, Dr. David (Janet) Rowley of Houston TX, Susan Beth (Michael) Aller of Ft. Collins CO and William (Cynthia) Rowley of Dubuque IA; 8 Grandchildren: Justin and Scott Aller, Kersten Barajas, Caitlin Cook, and Eddie, Erik, Evan, and Serica Rowley; 5 Great-grandchildren: Samuel and Daniel Barajas, Piper, Bodhi and Arbor Aller, in addition to 4 nieces, 1 nephew, and special Rowley family friend, Joyce Pilger.  

She is preceded in death by her love, Dr. Robert Ditto Rowley, her parents, her 3 sisters: Bessie Irene Wright Sward, Kathleen ‘Lorraine’ Stephenson and Irma Louise Peterson, and by her dear sister-in-law Kathryn Maxine Rowley.

Cremation has been entrusted to the care of Prugh~Thielen Crematory.

The memorial service for Mrs. Rowley will be 11:00 AM Saturday, July 6, 2019, at First United Methodist Church with Reverend Melisa Bracht-Wagner officiating. A time of food and fellowship will be held at the church following the service.  Burial will be in Aspen Grove Cemetery

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