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Piedmont, SD-Memorial service for Ruth Kraft, 90, of Piedmont will be 10:30 am, Friday, January 10, 2020 at Piedmont Valley Lutheran Church. Rev. Herb Cleveland will officiate.

Inurnment will be in Piedmont Cemetery.

Ruth died January 1, 2020 at Rapid City Hospice House.

On September 13, 1929, Ruth Ida was born in McIntosh, SD to Henry and Amanda (Kiemele) Holwegner. She was the oldest of five children. Ruth grew up on their farm, which was located approximately one mile east of the unincorporated town of Walker and three-fourths of a mile south of U.S. Highway 12. Ruth attended grade school in Walker’s one-room schoolhouse. After graduating from McLaughlin High School in 1947, she went to college for six months at Northern State Teachers’ College in Aberdeen, which at that time was the necessary education requirement to teach.

For the next six years Ruth taught at country schools in Corson and Ziebach counties and in Sioux County in North Dakota. On May 24, 1949, Ruth married Valentine “Val” Kraft who was from Trail City, SD. For twelve years, from 1950 to 1962, Ruth and Val traveled across South Dakota while he worked road construction jobs. In 1950, Ruth and Val’s first son Daniel “Danny” was born, and in 1953 their second son Gerald “Jerry” was born. In 1962, they bought the Shady Lane Drive Inn in McLaughlin, which Ruth operated while Val continued to work in road construction. During the winter months, Ruth cooked meals for patients at the McLaughlin Hospital.

In 1966, Ruth and Val sold the drive inn and purchased the Coast to Coast Hardware Store that was located on Main Street in McLaughlin. In 1979, they moved the hardware store across town to the lumber yard, which they remodeled. More than selling nails and screws, their store sold kitchen appliances, automotive supplies, hunting and fishing gear, and toys. Val also fixed small engines and later repaired leather shoes. Heaven only knows how many oceans of paint—one bucket at a time—that Ruth mixed for people. In an age before computers and the Internet, Ruth held in her head an encyclopedia of knowledge for the do-it-yourself customers. For decades, Ruth’s workdays often did not end until midnight as she counted receipts, paid bills and ordered inventory. Their store became an extension of their home, holding many impromptu gatherings for family, friends and employees.

In 2001, Ruth and Val sold the hardware store and moved to Piedmont where they helped their son Jerry with his hardware store. The Piedmont store closed in 2008, and Ruth stopped working in retail.

Whether in McLaughlin or Piedmont, Ruth was an active supporter of various civic groups, volunteering with the Ladies’ Aid, American Legion Auxiliary, sewing clubs, church council, Boys Scouts and the Piedmont Senior Citizens. In both communities, Ruth was known as the reliable person who would accomplish projects. The City of Piedmont commemorated Ruth’s 90th birthday in 2019.

Hard work, caring love to family, and service to others kept Ruth’s soul unwrinkled and filled with cheerful hope and kindness; but, alas, her efforts could not triumph over the passage of time.

She is survived by her granddaughter, Jody (Todd) Sahli, daughter of Danny of Aberdeen, SD; sister, Elaine Morrall of Grand Junction, CO and brother, Henry (Kathryn) Holwegner of Hermosa, SD; as well as numerous nieces and nephews: all of whom shall greatly miss this Grand, Sweet Lady.

Preceding Ruth in death are her parents, husband, Val (1-11-2013); son, Jerry (2-13-2010), son, daughter-in-law and grandson, Danny (3-28-2016), Janice (12-26-2016) and Brent (10-24-2007) and brothers, William “Bill” Holwegner and Leonard “Jim” Holwegner.

Carlsen Funeral Home and Crematory of Aberdeen has been entrusted with arrangements.