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Ruth Ellen (Gustafson) Mattick

Our dear Mom, Ruth Ellen Mattick (Gustafson), passed peacefully June 14, 2013, in Wichita.

She was born August 20, 1921, in Highland Park, N.J., and raised there by her parents Ed and Fran. Her fondest recollections of growing up were summers at a cottage by Highland Lake in CT, and she enjoyed swimming and the outdoors all her life.

Mom graduated in 1943 from New Jersey College for Women with a music degree. She was proud and supportive of her college (now Rutgers University) and kept up with her classmates. Ruth enlisted in the WAVES during WWII and served with the code-deciphering office in Washington, D.C. There, in 1944, she met our Dad, Irv, under the "Spirit of St. Louis" on a visit to the Smithsonian Castle on Lincoln's Birthday. Dad was an Orthopedist stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital preparing for his tour of duty in the Pacific.

They married three months after meeting and lived in a variety of Naval hospital stations during and after the War including Hot Springs, N.M., Norman, OK, and Great Lakes, IL. When Dad left the service in 1954, the family moved to Hays where Dad set up a medical practice with the brother of a close college friend. Mom grew to love Hays and lived there for 57 years, raising 4 children.

She was beloved in the community for her charm, sense of humor, musical participation, and love of people. Mom was very outgoing and belonged to many charitable and social organizations including PEO (50-year member), bridge clubs and the hospital's Women's Auxiliary. She was an Elder at Hays Presbyterian Church and a longtime member of the choir. Mom loved music (her baby grand piano was among her most prized possessions), and as a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity for Women, hosted SAI meetings and performances in support of scholarships for FHSU students.

Mom and Dad loved to open their home to friends and visitors, hosting innumerable dinner parties, holiday celebrations and card games over boisterous conversation. They enjoyed travelling with their circle of friends, particularly trips to Hill City for dancing, and relished their family outings to the lake. Mom and Dad especially loved cruises and traveled the world after Dad's retirement.

Mom was very proud to become "Grandma Ruth" in November 1988 to grandson Bret. Ruth and Irv created lots of occasions to be with Bret and Joanna, always exuding their wonderful sense of adventure in their visits. Their love of all things botanical gave Ruth and Irv insight to making their own gardens thrive. Friends of Mom hoped to receive cuttings of their many rose varieties through the years. Mom loved animals, tame and otherwise, (especially chickadees and cardinals) and anything Swedish.

We were very lucky to have such a wonderful mother and will cherish her love, great sense of humor, and unmatched Swedish pancakes forever.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband Irvin, daughter Marcia, and brothers Danny and Don.

She is survived by daughter Leslie (Don) and grandson Bret of Wichita, and sons, Carl (Jo Ellen and daughter Joanna) of Arlington, VA, and Tom (Marilyn) of Seattle. She is also survived by her close sister-in-law Maria Gustafson and seven nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday June 25, at 10 a.m., at the Hays First Presbyterian Church, 2900 Hall Street.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to SAI, Theta B chapter (; Botanica, 701 Amidon St., Wichita, KS 67203; or a charity of your choice. Downing & Lahey Mortuary East. Share tributes online at