Ruth Carlson Godfrey, 86, of North Platte, passed away Jan. 11, at Centennial Park Retirement Village in North Platte. Ruth was born July 19, 1926, on the family''s homestead in McPherson County. She was the ninth child of Norwegian immigrants, Kristoffer Karlsen Stensrud and Gunda Petersen Stensrud.
Ruth''s mother passed away May, 1930, leaving eight children motherless and neighbors encouraging their father to put them on the Orphan Train.
Instead, with the help of the older children, the family stayed together. During Ruth''s early years she lived with the Powers'', Marvins'' and other families in the Sandhills near Tryon. When Ruth reached the upper grades in school, she moved in with her older sister, Ingeborg Godfrey, and her family near Sutherland. They lived in a boxcar and had a dining car for a kitchen. She graduated from Sutherland High School in 1945.
Ruth''s sisters, Ingeborg and Dagmar, married brothers, Wilbert and Ralph Godfrey. In 1946, Ruth married their cousin, Richard, so all of the Carlson girls became Godfreys.
Richard and Ruth moved to California and then returned to the Nebraska Sandhills seven years later. They lived near Hyannis then to the Sutherland area. Wanting to be closer to the church, the family moved to North Platte in 1962.
Ruth was a member of the Restoration Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ. She worked for 23 years in the Madison Junior High cafeteria, enjoying her co-workers, staff and students.
In 1979, Ruth accompanied her father back to Norway to see the old Stensrud homestead, the church her father had attended before coming to America and met relatives she had only heard about.
After Richard passed away in 2002, Ruth traveled to Kansas City with a family friend. Both had children in that area. That trip began 10 years of "drives" for Ruth and Lloyd Dowhower and loving relationship.
Ruth is survived by her three sons, Dale (Rita), of Oak Grove, Mo., Larry (Nancy), of Lone Jack, Mo. and Wayne (Leona), of North Platte; her grandchildren, Julie Godfrey, of Chicago, Ill., Mark Godfrey, of Oak Grove, Joel Godfrey, of Kansas City, Mo., Sara (Ryan) Brown, of Lee''s Summit, Mo., Erin (Calvin) Hobbs, of Kansas City and Jared Godfrey, of Lincoln; two great-grandchildren, Logan and Claire Brown, of Lee''s Summit; her dear friends, Lloyd Dowhower and Diana Henry, of North Platte; and other family and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents; sisters, Ingeborg and Dagmar; brothers, Carl, Paul, George, Einer, Barney and Harold "Tuffy" Carlson.
Memorials are suggested to the Restoration Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Funeral service was at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 14, at Odean Colonial Chapel. Burial will be at a later time in Fort McPherson National Cemetery. Odean Colonial Chapel was in charge of arrangements.