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Ruth Thielman funeral card

A candlelit wedding ceremony in Wahpeton, N.D., sent 21-year-old Ruth Thielman and Bob Dreier, 23, off to a life in Los Angeles in 1941. The lengthy newspaper wedding story included details such as, “for traveling, the bride is wearing a tailored pinstripe suit in blue, with cherry accessories.”

The depth of the events to come were unimaginable.

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor a month later and Dreier was soon in Europe. His 102nd infantry division eventually made a river crossing under heavy German fire on the march toward Berlin in 1945.

Mrs. Thielman had returned to Minnesota by then to care for her ill mother when the telegram arrived. Dreier had been a casualty at Germany´s Roer River. He was buried in Holland and awarded a Purple Heart. She was a widow at 24. Weeks later, her 55-year-old mother, Jane Anderson, died of leukemia.

But like many others, Mrs. Thielman pushed through the realities of World War II to structure a new life in Washington, D.C., where secretarial jobs were plentiful.

Relocation east took on a rosy glow as she made lifelong friends, helped her sister and brother-in-law with their young family in Maryland, worked for the FDIC and traveled to places such as Cuba.

A service for Mrs. Thielman, 88, whose body died from pancreatic cancer at River Falls Area Hospital April 9, 2009, was held Monday, April 13. Burial is at Ft. Snelling National Military Cemetery.

Born Ruth Clarice Anderson on July 20,1920 in Wahpeton, she earned a degree from Wahpeton Science Commercial College in 1940 and worked at Breckenridge Electric before the move to L.A.

In 1952, after six years in D.C., she returned to Breckenridge to marry E.M. “Al” Thielman, on September 24. Thielman´s Barbershop was a Breckenridge gathering spot for three decades. Mr. Thielman died in 1990.

The couple had two children. Jane Harred and her husband, Larry, are Ph.Ds who teach English at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Jim Thielman of Long Lake, Minn., works at General Mills. His book, “Cool of the Evening: The 1965 Minnesota Twins,” is dedicated to Mrs. Thielman´s late father, George.

She also leaves behind two nephews, George and Berton Braley.

“Mom understood finance, was at ease with people, and would have had some interesting career options had she been born 40 years later,” her son said.

“She had a watchmaker´s attention to detail. You could see that in little things like her penmanship. People who received her greeting cards would show them to others. That script was impeccable.”

An animal lover, Mrs. Thielman also navigated through knitting and crafts projects, played the piano, and flew her pen over thousands of crossword puzzles. After raising her children she returned to work in the Breckenridge city assessor´s office at age 50, remaining active in the Episcopal church.

She disliked cooking – although she was good at it – but loved to bake. Trays of her fudge were an annual hit at the University of River Falls English department´s Christmas party after she moved to Wisconsin in 1990.

Sisters Georgia Nelson and Jeannette Braley preceded her in death, along with many other relatives and friends, some of whom were cancer victims, a diagnosis that always provoked a particular disgust. Even while drowsy from a recent surgery, she responded to a doctor´s remarks by quietly asking, “I wonder why people have to keep hearing that word? Cancer.”

ruth thielman by golf bag
ruth thielman signature

Cool of the Evening


ruth thielman, mother of jim thielman, author, cool of the evening: the 1965 minnesota twins
Mother always said that I was like Scarlett O'Hara: "I'll think about that tomorrow."