Cover photo for Ruth  Beckman's Obituary
Ruth  Beckman Profile Photo
1925 Ruth 2018

Ruth Beckman

September 27, 1925 — December 16, 2018


09/27/1925 - 12/16/2018

What do you say when someone who was a central figure of your life is suddenly gone?  How do you cope?  How do you right this suddenly listing lifeboat?  Where do you find a life vest that will support you and your family through the grief?

Ruth Beckman was born in northern Minnesota as the only child of two proud, hardworking Norwegians.  Clarence Embertson returned from the bloody fields of France and grabbled Mabel Lysons hand and said I love you!

They lived just outside of Two Harbors on a small farm acreage with a superior view of Lake Superior.  Being farmers in northern Minnesota meant facing annual bumper crops of rocks, mosquitoes and, if they were lucky, enough grass to keep a cow reasonably fat and content.  It was a humble beginning, one shared by many.

The bills were paid, even through the lean depression, by Clarence working the trains that carried iron ore from the giant open pit mines to the lake shore.  The nation was stumbling through hard times but it was also preparing for a second calamity that would demand more steel.

Mabel looked after the homestead, keeping everyone, including a menagerie of animals fed and cared for.  She was an excellent partner, mother and cook.  Her donuts were famous and even became popular among the locals.  In spite of the donuts Ruth grew tall, lithe and strong in will and character.

Her young life was pristine meadows, swimming in a small, very cold creek adjacent to their house, a one mile walk to the school bus (famously uphill in both directions), a pet fawn, and most significantly, firm but loving parents.  Her seminal roots.  It was a good life and she dearly loved her mom and dad....and her dog Mars. 

Ruth graduated near the top of her class and was on a straight path to nurses training in Minneapolis when love steered her wrong.  She met and fell in love with a fellow county kid from 20 miles across the rocky swampland.  Don Beckman stole her heart and kept it for a very long time.

Their life together started 09/16/44 and was a long adventure.  He was a mechanic at heart but over the years he held jobs all over the country, moving his growing brood of four excellent kids over 40 times before finally settling down in Kansas City in the late 60s.

It was there that Ruth finally turned to nursing.  She earned her associate RN degree in her mid-40s and ultimately a masters degree in reading education.  She worked as an operating room nurse and with a doctor in private practice but her real passion was in teaching where she was a firm taskmaster.

Did I mention she was a lifelong member of MENSA?  I bring it up only because she was intensely proud to count herself among that august group of too smart people.  She would leave MENSA literature scattered around the house so that even a casual visitor would come away with the knowledge that somewhere in that house MENSA lived.  She was one smart cookie.

She was a lifelong Liberal, with a capital L.  Her fridge was covered with two passions: magnets collected from her travels and political cartoons clipped from the local paper.  The cartoons were not respectful of local and national politicians.  There was seldom any cursing in the house but when you heard some you could be sure it was directed at them. Sadly, she was not able to fully appreciate the current political state of affairs. She loved conspiracies, real and imagined. 

With Dons passing in 1982 she was in her 50s and on her own for the first time.  She met new loves, each expanding her life experience.  She traveled to all parts of the world: Norway, Russia, Germany, Italy, Egypt, Alaska, Japan, the Black Sea, China, New Zealand, even climbing the trail to Machu Picchu in her late 70s!

But it was Roland Blackmarr that was her final love.  They had known each other for almost 20 years, she as a dancer, he as a band leader.  The dance community brought them together and sustained them.  The two were a good match and they were in love.  They married in 2015 and supported each other through her final 3 1/2 years.  In fairness though, it was Roland doing the heavy lifting as they both struggled against her progressive dementia.

She lived a good life full of wonder, challenges and surprises.  She was surrounded along the way by good friends and family.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.  Ruth probably never read the quote but she instinctively lived it.

Surviving family:

Roland Blackmarr
​     Victoria Vernau

Ginger (Paul) Downing
     Richard (Marcie) Downing
Chad (Leighanne) Downing

Don (Helen) Beckman
     Lori Lanier
Lynn (Auggie) Salinas
Joel Beckman

Scott (Terri) Beckman
     Ian (Jill) Beckman

Ross (Sherry) Beckman
     Misty (Matt) Foster
Rhonda Hughes

Glenn Beckman

Predeceased by:

Clarence & Mabel Embertson
Donald T. Beckman
Ryan Beckman
Brandon Beckman
Doloris Beckman

Correspondence can be directed to the Park Lawn Funeral Home 8251 Hillcrest Rd. Kansas City, MO. 64138, web site:  or to [email protected]

Service Information:

A brief memorial service will be held December 23, 2018 at Matt Ross Community Center, 8101 Marty, Overland Park, KS at 3:00 pm. Reception to follow. Everyone is invited.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth Beckman, please visit our flower store.


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