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Ruth L. Hoeft

Obituary for Ruth L. Hoeft

January 10, 1929 - August 4, 2017
Beaver Dam, Wisconsin | Age 88

Loving Mother, Grandma and Great Grandma


Ruth Lucile (Thiel) Hoeft, 88, formerly of Beaver Dam, passed away Friday, August 4, 2017 at Valley VNA assisted living center in Neenah, Wisconsin.

A visitation for Ruth will be held on Monday, August 14, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home, N7199 N. Crystal Lake Road, Beaver Dam. A Celebration of Ruth's life will follow at 5:00 p.m. with John R. Leiting as celebrant. Interment will be at Highland Memory Gardens in the town of Trenton, Wisconsin.

She was born the daughter of Edward and Rose (Gresch) Thiel on January 10, 1929 in Cherokee County, Iowa.

Ruth's family relocated to Beaver Dam when the Great Depression struck causing the family much despair. Ruth attended Madison, Washington and Lincoln grade schools, then graduated from Beaver Dam High School in June of 1946 at age 17.

Ruth grew up among a happy brood of twelve Thiel children. As a child she cared for her little sisters, Janet, Susan and Mary and chummed with her brothers, Donny, Ray and Ralph. She looked up to her older sisters Gladys, Dorothy and Lorna and admired her oldest brother, Franny.

Ruth was an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church where she learned her catechism from her teacher, Mayor Mary Spellman. It was at St. Patrick's she was married to Lyle R. Hoeft, her childhood sweetheart and classmate, on July 30, 1949. The Reverend Richard Walsh officiated. The young couple first settled in the Hoeft family cabin at Sunset Point on Beaver Dam Lake. Their door was always open to friends and family who wanted to throw in a fishing line and catch a bullhead or two.

Ruth was elected president of the Altar Society in 1952. She was also a member of the Beaver Dam Chambermaids and the Exchange Club of Beaver Dam. In 1950 she founded a "girls' club" with friends and former classmates. It lasted more than 40 years. Ruth was a Girl Scout leader and taught an Antiques Appreciation class at Moraine Park Technical College.

Over the years Ruth was employed at numerous businesses in Beaver Dam including Schultz Brothers, Woolworth's, Stokely-Van Camp cannery (where she worked alongside WWII German prisoners), Green Giant cannery, Odeon Theater, Griesbaum's Bakery, Waldhier's Jewelry, Schoenwetter & Son dentists, Carol's Beauty Shop, Eager Beaver Cleaners and Phoenix Hosiery. CNA trained, she worked at both Lutheran Deaconess Hospital and St. Joseph's Hospital. An antique appraiser and dealer for many years, Ruth owned and operated Ruthie's Antiques on Lake Street, Everybody's Attic on N. Spring Street and Henry Street and Everybody's Attic Riverside on Front Street until retiring in 2000.

In 1977 Ruth ran for alderwoman in Ward 12, Beaver Dam. She lost the election by 10 votes. She was the only female on the ballot.

In December 1978 she purchased the Triangle Inn on Highways 26 and 33. Together with her son, Jay, she established a busy bar, grill and live music hall. For 18 years they hosted live rock and roll bands, weddings, auctions, a flea market and sand volleyball.

After the death of her husband, Lyle, in 1993 Ruth relocated to Minnesota Junction. Jay's Triangle Inn was sold and torn down.

Ruth had an ambitious business mind. (Even as a child she made holiday lapel pins and peddled them throughout the neighborhood.) When she was in her 70's Ruth created "Tenders Flannel Diapers," which she sewed and marketed along with "Lady's Leg" pin cushions.

Ruth loved her family, meeting new people, learning new things, feeding the birds, holding a baby, finding a four-leaf clover, collecting everything and anything, scrapbooking, going for coffee, a game of Royal Rummy, bright lipstick, purses and shoes that matched, shelves of books, a cat asleep on her lap, new places, old houses and day trips on the bingo bus. She was an excellent seamstress who sewed her own wedding dress. She brightened any conversation with her quick wit and her penchant for storytelling. She was generous and kind. She knew the names of wildflowers. She knew all the lyrics to all the songs.

Ruth will be always loved by her children: Danise (Alvin) Johnson, Sacramento, CA; Kim (Steve) Diloreto, Neenah, WI; and Jay Hoeft, Beaver Dam. She leaves behind endless hugs for her grandchildren: David Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Amy (Jerrod) Gonzalez, John Johnson, all of Sacramento; Jessica (Anthony) Callisto, Seattle, WA; Patrick (Courtney) Roach, Boulder Creek, CA; and Kody Hoeft, Waupun, WI; her step-grandchildren: Beau (Andrea) Diloreto, Neenah, WI and Maria (Shawn) Laubenstein, Neenah, WI; and for her three adorable great-grandchildren. She will be missed by her surviving sisters: Lorna Starks, Watertown, WI; Janet Clark, Vero Beach, FL; and Susan (James) Rank, Cambridge, WI and by her many other relatives and friends.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, husband, three sisters: Dorothy (John) Italiano, Gladys (Jack) Wheeler, Mary (George) Leonhard; and by five brothers: Frances (Lee) Thiel, Ralph Thiel, Donald (Dorothy) Thiel, Raymond (Janet) Thiel, and Leroy Thiel.

Ruth's family is grateful for the kind care she received from the staff in Emerald Court at the Valley VNA and from Affinity Hospice. God bless each of you.

Memorial donations in Ruth's name may be given to the Dodge County Humane Society.

The Koepsell-Murray Funeral Home in Beaver Dam is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

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Koepsell-Murray Funeral & Cremation Services, Beaver Dam

N7199 N. Crystal Lake Road
Beaver Dam, WI 53916
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