Ruth  Mulder
Ruth Elaine Schuiteman was born May 30, 1943, (Memorial Day), to Art A. and Katherine (Hofland) Schuiteman, the youngest of six children. Her schooling began at West Branch No. 1 Country School, with her older sister Wilma as her teacher. Her father died when Ruth was six years old, resulting in her mother with five daughters moving into Sioux Center, Iowa, from the farm east of town. The remainder of Ruth's schooling was at Sioux Center Community Schools. She was an excellent student, and in high school was an award winning typist, active in band, pep club, and student government. She was chosen Prom Queen during her senior year, and graduated May of 1961. Ruth also enjoyed participating in 4-H, where she first practiced her life-long art of sewing, as well as met her future husband! She was first runner-up in the 1961 Sioux County Fair Queen Contest. Ruth also took nurse's aide training and worked at the Sioux Center Community Hospital during her later years of high school.
Ruth was baptized July 4, 1943, (another national holiday) at First Reformed Church, Sioux Center, Iowa, and made public profession of her faith July 31, 1961, receiving Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord, also at the First Reformed Church, Sioux Center. Ruth married Ivan Mulder, August 31, 1961, at Central Reformed Church, Sioux Center. Their daughter, Shaughn Ruth, was born in Sioux Center, November 2, 1963, daughter, Geselle Lamae, was born in Brigham City, Utah, January 28, 1967, and son, Gavin Ritchie, was born in Oakland, California, September 28, 1970.
While Ivan finished his schooling, Ruth was employed as a secretary at an insurance company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the city offices of Sioux Center, and later as a nurse's aide at the Community Hospital of Orange City, Iowa. She earned her PHT (Put Husband Through) in 1966. Following Ivan's graduation from college, the family moved to Brigham City, Utah, where Ruth assisted with children's ministry at the Christian Reformed Church and supplemented the family income by working as an aide at a local nursing home. Following the family's move to San Francisco, California, Ruth again was involved in the children's ministry and did secretarial work at the Friendship House for the American Indian, where Ivan was also employed. And finally, after the family moved to Pella, Iowa, in 1972, Ruth again worked as a nurse's aide at the Pella Community Hospital.
The spring of 1974 was a difficult time for the Mulder family when Ruth was struck with transverse myelitis resulting in total paralysis followed by several months of recovery at the University of Iowa Hospital. The children were farmed-out to friends and family during that summer. Ruth retained diminished breathing capacity and right-side paralysis resulting in severe mobility limitations. Years later she experienced respiratory complications, undergoing 28 surgical procedures of various kinds at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN to correct tracheal stenosis, the results of scarring from two tracheostomies. Meanwhile Ruth endured long periods of no speech, including one two-year stint. Thirty hyperbaric oxygen treatments at Mercy Hospital, Des Moines, IA provided the much needed healing of the trachea. Ever since a fall late 2010 and a broken leg, she required help with transferring and was restricted to the use of a power chair for mobility. Through it all Ruth demonstrated submission to God by being patient and positive and an example in her reactions to her daily struggles with disability and chronic pain. Together with Ivan they learned that the most difficult moments in life can be an opportunity for putting faith in action.
Ruth was a faithful wife and a dedicated mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She enjoyed attending concerts and other activities in which her family participated. Ruth led Friendship Ministries sessions with clients at Christian Opportunity Center for many years and volunteered at Work of Our Hands store, Hospice's Empty Cradle Service, and Pella's Information Windmill. She was a Crossroad Prison Ministries Mentor, and enjoyed attending Coffee Break sessions as well as other Bible Study and fellowship settings. Few could out-smart her at board games. She also managed the family finances. Ruth and Ivan went on numerous service projects to Mississippi and Kentucky. Ruth was fastidious about homemaking, giving careful attention to detail for food, clothing and Ruth found purpose and enjoyment by sewing clothing for her young daughters and granddaughters, but also high school prom dresses, and the bridesmaid dresses for their weddings. She made a Swedish weaving afghan for each of the grandchildren and later sewed scores of hooded bath towels as baby gifts and hundreds of skirts and dresses for the poorest of the poor in disaster-stricken Haiti. Despite going through four machines, the gift of a sewing machine she received from Ivan for high school graduation kept on giving.
For Ruth's 70th birthday, her children invited family and friends to write out special memories and birthday wishes to put in a special binder as a tangible way to show their love and gratitude for their Proverbs 31 Mom. A favorite quote came from Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard: "The greatest saints are not those who need less grace, but those who consume the most grace, who indeed are most in need of grace-those who are saturated by grace in every dimension of their being. Grace to them is like breath." It's ironic and interesting how grace and breath are related in that quote, especially since Ruth struggled for adequate breath during the many years following her illness due to chronic respiratory limitations and eventual respiratory failure. Ruth's faith in God was rewarded by receiving greater grace from God, a stronger character, humility, and an ability to empathize with others. In addition, others around her benefited from observing her submission to God, and attitude of contentment, taking things as they came. Ruth went to be with the Lord on December 21, 2019, at the age of 76 years and is survived by her husband, Ivan Mulder and their family:
Jerry and Shaughn Roorda of Leighton, IA, Lance and Skyler Roorda of Leighton, IA, Quinn Alan Roorda, Iris Elaine Roorda, Lindley and Mark Visser of Coralville, IA, Coen Lee Visser, Case Dalen Visser, Lorinda and Aric Bradley of Columbia, MO;
Geselle and Brian Steenhoek of Grundy Center, IA, Lydia Steenhoek, Brennan and Rachel Steenhoek of Zeeland, MI, Jori Steenhoek, Cameron Steenhoek;
Gavin Mulder of Pella, IA.
Ruth leaves two sisters: Arta and husband, Marvin Schoep and Rosalie (Marvin) Prins of Sioux Center, IA and is also survived by Ivan's siblings: Al Mulder of Grand Rapids, MI, Harold and Marlyce Mulder of Winter Park, FL, (Janice Mulder) Stan and Elaine Altena of Sioux Center, IA, Phyllis and Curt Roelofs of Grand Rapids, MI, Marv and Dee Mulder of Sioux Falls, SD, Alma and Ed Post of Rock Valley, IA, Leon and Shirley Mulder of Doon, IA and Donna Mulder of Georgetown, DE. She was preceded in death by daughter-in-law, Melissa (Gavin) Mulder; her parents, infant brother James, and sisters: Wilma (Theron) De Boer, and Gertrude(Bud) Rozeboom. Memorial services were held on Saturday, December 28, at the Calvary Christian Reformed Church. Memorials may be given for the Pella Christian High School, Crossroads Prison Ministries, or Pella Historical Society and Museum. Van Dyk -Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Published on December 27, 2019

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