ROCKFORD – Ruth Ann Ganz Edwards died Thursday, April 18, 2013, at PA Peterson Center for Health in Rockford after a brief stay.
She was born Dec. 29, 1920, in Alvo, Neb., the daughter of Carl Donald and Flora Rose (Boyles) Ganz. She attended Alvo High School and Stephens College, graduated from the University of Nebraska, and studied and taught at Utterback Brown Business College.
During World War II, she enlisted in the WAVES, a division of the Navy, attaining the rank of lieutenant junior grade. She served as a regimental commander.
Ruth married Howard Edwards Jr., M.D., on Jan. 19, 1946, in Lincoln, Neb. They moved to Dixon in 1950. After raising her family, she completed graduate work at Northern Illinois University, taught at St. Mary School, and directed the Outdoor Education Program for Dixon Public Schools.
Ruth Edwards was a child advocate before the term was invented. She served as the chairwoman of the Dixon Park Board and the president of the Stronghold Presbyterian Church Camp of Oregon. She also was president of the Washington School PTA; a volunteer at KSB Hospital; and volunteered for 15 years as the genealogy and research consultant at Dixon Public Library. She was appointed to the White House Council on Children and the Advisory Board for Sauk Valley College, and was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Dixon.
Ruth loved the fine arts. She coached and accompanied countless young people for solo and ensemble contests as a part of the Dixon Grade School Band Program. She was a devoted member of the Phidean Art Club, and she was an enthusiastic fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. She mentored nieces, nephews, neighbors, music students, and other young people who were devoted to her.
Since 1995, she lived at Peterson Meadows in Rockford.
She is survived by four children and four grandchildren, Carol Heeringa of Ellison Bay, Wis.; Susan Erickson of Lincoln, Neb.; Mary Hahn of Rockford; and Howard M. Edwards III of Marietta, Ga. Her grandchildren are Emily Porter, Michael Hahn, Benjamin Edwards, and Ian Edwards.
She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, and two brothers.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Dixon Park District to be designated for Lowell Park, Dixon Public Library, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.