Ruth L. Bitter Ochs Howard, age 92, died February 21, 2020 at Rhode Island Suites, Ransom, Kansas where she had been residing since 2012. She was born March 27, 1927 in Barton County, Kansas the daughter of Julius Bitter and Emilie Schmidt Bitter. Ruth completed 8th grade in Barton County at a one-room schoolhouse. She attended Salt Lake City Business College at age 16 in Hutchinson, Kansas. On May 5, 1946 she married Leonard Ochs in Barton County. Leonard died on May 26, 1964. She went back to high school in 1966 and graduated Salutatorian from Utica High School in 1968. She married Donald “D.D.” Howard on October 25, 1968 in Jennings, Kansas. He preceded her in death on January 7, 2019. Also preceding her in death were her two brothers Harry and Eugene Bitter.


Ruth was a homemaker and a member of the United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women of Utica and WaKeeney. She was also a member of the Starlight Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star.


She is survived by a daughter, Marlene Hord and her husband, Karl, of Nixa, Missouri; four sons, John Ochs and his wife, Julie, of Seminole, Alabama; Tom Ochs and his wife, Kris, of Utica; Leonard D. Ochs and his wife, Cynthia, of Utica; and Hardy Howard and his wife, Dawn, of WaKeeney; 16 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; 7 step-great grandchildren and 1 step-great great grandchild.


A memorial service will be held at the United Methodist Church, Utica on Friday, February 28, 2020, 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Bud Tuxhorn presiding. Inurnment in the Utica cemetery following the service. Friends may sign the memorial book at Fitzgerald Funeral Home, Ness City on Thursday, February 27 from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. with the family present from 5-7 p.m. Memorial contributions may be given to the United Methodist Church of Utica or WaKeeney. Memories and words of support may be left for the family at www.fitzgeraldfuneral.com.