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Ruth Elma (Ihrig) Foreman

Ruth Elma (Ihrig) Foreman, 94, Withers Mill, Mo., passed away on Aug. 16, 2023 at 7:49 p.m. en route to Hannibal Regional Hospital.

Known as “Ruthie” to her friends and family, and “R.E.” to “Willie”, her husband of 70 years, Ruth Foreman was a much beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.  

Ruth Elma (Ihrig) Foreman

With her melodic soprano voice, Ruth graced Big Creek Presbyterian Church’s choir and the Mark Twain Chorale for many years. She and Willie sang duets for events throughout their married life.  

An accomplished artist, her love of beauty was evident from the decorations she chose for gatherings to cherished watercolors she painted on the farm.She considered everyone family or extended family and all were welcomed in her home.

Ruth was born on Jan. 18, 1929, the youngest daughter of Elmer and Alice (Kern) Ihrig.  Both her parents and her older twin sisters, Mary and Margaret, preceded her in death.  

Ruth grew up in Withers Mill, lived her adult life on the Withers Mill farm, and in 2000, returned to her childhood home, where she remained until the time of her death.  

She utilized her knowledge of the area’s history and her artistic expertise to illustrate a written history of Withers Mill, written in 1989 by J. and Roberta Hagood.

On Aug. 28, 1949, Ruth married George Wilfred “Willie” Foreman. After joint teaching with Willie for two years at the Cantril, Iowa Public School, they returned to Withers Mill, where they farmed until retirement. Willie preceded Ruth in death on Sept. 17, 2019.

Ruth is survived by six children, Gary (Ann), Palmyra, Mo.; Sarah Chisamore (Jim), Rochelle, Ill.; Bruce (Beth), Holland, Mich.; Joe (Marcia), Troy, Mo.; Jesse (Amy), Concho, Ariz.; and Jay (DeeDee), Collinsville, Okla. She was preceded in death by an infant son, Bradley.  

In addition, Ruth is survived by 23 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren. She will be remembered by them all for her willingness to drop other tasks in order to spend quality time with them, baking cookies, playing games or reading books.  Those whose lives she touched will greatly miss her.

Funeral services for Ruth will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, at Big Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Rensselaer, Mo. Burial and committal prayers will follow at Big Creek Cemetery. 

Visitation celebrating Ruth’s life will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 20, at Smith Funeral Home & Chapel.

A second visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until the beginning of the funeral service on Monday at the church.

Memorials may be made to Big Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church, in care of Smith Funeral Home & Chapel.

Online condolences may be made to the family and video tribute viewed on Ruth’s memorial page at