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Ruby Beckman’s greatest joy was assurance of salvation

Ruby Gelinda (Thompson) Beckman, 101, of Glenham, went to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019.
Funeral services will be held Friday, Sept. 6, at 10:30 a.m., at the Family Worship Center in Mobridge.
Burial will be at the Mobridge City Cemetery under the direction of Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge.
Visitation will be at 5 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home.
Ruby was born Oct. 10, 1917, to Hans and Selma (Iverson) Thompson on the family homestead in western Sioux County, N.D.  She was the only daughter, with older brother Alvin, and younger brothers Roy, Herbert, and Norval. Norval, born on Ruby’s 10th birthday, elicited a response of “What?  Another boy?,” when Ruby learned the gender of her youngest sibling. Ruby loved growing up on the prairie near the Cedar River and shared her father’s love for the Dakotas.
Ruby attended Davis School, a country school near their homestead, for grades 1 through 8. Her first two years of high school were in Thunder Hawk.  At that time, her parents made the difficult decision to send her to Mandan, N.D., to complete her high school education in a more challenging academic environment. Ruby frequently spoke of her parents’ beliefs in the importance of quality education.  While in Mandan, she worked for room and board at the home of an acquaintance where she helped care for the children in the family.
Having completed high school and passing a standardized exam, Ruby was certified to teach in the country schools. She returned to the family farm in order to save money during the depression years and taught at a nearby country school in Grant County, N.D. Since it was only three miles from her home, Ruby would walk or ride horse to the school.  She not only taught there but was responsible for the janitorial work and for starting the wood stove to heat the building.
In 1938, Ruby began attending Northwest Bible and Music Academy in Minot, N.D.  After completing a two-year program there, she served as the youth director for the Church of God in North and South Dakota. It was during this time that Ruby became acquainted with a young farmer and aspiring pastor, Walter Beckman, who worked on the family farm northeast of Glenham. However, Ruby returned to college in 1942 at the Church of God Bible Training School in Sevierville, Tenn., where she completed a junior college degree in Christian Education. Ruby and Walter had maintained their friendship during this time, and Ruby returned to the Dakotas where she and Walter married in Mobridge on June 18, 1944.
In 1944, Ruby taught at Northwest Bible and Music Academy, which had moved from Minot to Lemmon. In the spring of 1945, Ruby’s brother, Alvin, and Alvin’s son, Henley, were stricken with tuberculosis and passed away.  Ruby later contracted the same disease and spent 1946-47 recovering on the Beckman farm near Glenham where she and Walter lived. In 1948, Walter began pastoring, with Ruby working closely beside him.  They served in Mound City, Tolstoy, and Aberdeen churches from 1948 to 1962.  While in Aberdeen, Ruby was able to continue her passion for education at Northern State College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
The Beckmans moved west in 1962 when Walter accepted a pastorate in Broadus, Mont. During this time Ruby taught one year at the Little Powder School in Weston, Wyo., grades 1 through 8, with 14 to18 students. Ruby described the location as “literally where the deer and the antelope played.” Ruby secured a position in the Broadus schools the following year and began teaching first grade.
A life-changing event occurred when Walter suffered a series of cerebral hemorrhages in 1965.  After four months at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Ruby and Walter returned to Broadus.  Walter had lost his ability to speak, read, or write, but as Ruby often stated, he had not lost his ability to think.  She committed the next 23 years to nurturing and caring for him until his death in 1986.
During this period, Ruby “became hooked” on the field of speech therapy, having watched the therapists working with Walter. After teaching in Broadus for a few more years, Ruby and Walter moved to Missoula, Mont., where Ruby earned a masters’ degree in Speech Therapy, while still caring for Walter. She worked in the school system in Missoula, focusing on hearing impaired children, until 1976.
When Ruby’s father passed away in 1976, she made the decision to move back to Glenham to live with and help care for her mother. Over the next 13 years, Ruby continued her work as a speech therapist in a part-time capacity, working in Mobridge, Wakpala, and Glenham schools. Ruby also wrote the Glenham news column, appearing in local newspapers over the course of several years, knowing how much that local news had meant to her when she was living away from the area.
During this time and well into her 90s, Ruby also dedicated her time as the lay pastor for the Church of God in Mound City. In her quiet manner, with this small congregation, they significantly impacted missions projects around the world with their contributions and prayers.
Following Ruby’s retirements from her various responsibilities, she continued to live in her own home in Glenham, where she read, studied and learned, and cherished her time with friends and family, often over a good game of Scrabble (which she usually won). In 2017, at age 99, she transitioned to the Mobridge GoldenLiving Center, and later to the Walworth County Care Center,
spent her last days.
Most important to Ruby was her relationship with Jesus, and through this relationship caring for others. Her greatest joy was in the assurance of salvation through Christ, and she prayed this for all she knew. Her love of learning compelled her to read various versions of the Bible through each year, and as her sight failed, to commit to memory the Scriptures, not just in verses but in chapters. She was a true prayer warrior, whose prayers for others circled the globe as well as her own family and community.
Caring, gentle, enthusiastic about learning and excited about teaching others – these characteristics applied to Ruby in all she did. Ruby’s own description of the work of a therapist paints a picture of her life – “You have to lead them gently, you set a good example, you give them time to get hold of it themselves.” “It’s just human nature to want to see people helped out of a difficulty and into a place where they are better able to handle themselves, where they have more confidence and better relations with their peers.”
Ruby was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Walter and her four brothers.  She is survived by many loving nieces and nephews.