Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — With her family gathered around her, Ruth Annette Harkert, 87, of Traverse City and formerly of Evart, passed away peacefully Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at Munson Medical Center.
Born Monday, Sept. 13, 1926, in Clio, she was the fourth of eight children born to Jessie Imogene (Fleming) and Earl Isaac Gillett. The family moved back to their ancestral roots in Evart shortly after her birth. She attended Evart Public Schools and graduated from Evart High in 1944. She continued her education at Central Michigan College in Mount Pleasant.
Ruth married Leo Harkert on Saturday, Jan. 21, 1950, in Evart, and they shared 58 years together before Leo’s death on Jan. 21, 2008.
After her children were in school, Ruth began working for Evart Public Schools, first in the high school library as an assistant for a couple of years and then for many years in the position of secretary to elementary principal Dwight Cooper, a position she held until her retirement.
The Harkert’s made their home in Evart for 54 years, moving to Traverse City in 2004 to be near their family.
Ruth is survived by her children, Rick and his wife Jody Harkert, and Linda Puckett, all of Traverse City; her grandchildren, Nicholas (Lindsay) Harkert of Traverse City, Kendry Harkert (Matt Scott) of Interlochen, Tyler Harkert of Kentwood, Tina (Chet) Neihardt of Sarasota, Fla., Matthew (Leslie) Puckett of Portage, Renee Puckett of Muskegon; and her great-grandchildren, Christopher, Kyle, Noah and Emma Rae.
Also surviving are her siblings, Joan (Max) Bowman of Plant City, Fla., Jim (Lilah) Gillett of Overland Park, Kan., David (Pat) Gillett of Greenville and Louise (David) Lantz of Lansing and Elk Rapids. Many nieces and nephews survive, including her “special” niece Tammy Lantz of Traverse City, who has been so very involved in her life and care; her very special friend and “adopted granddaughter” Theresa Marsh of Kingsley; her good friend Harriett Bieri of Evart, as well as her many other Evart friends. Also surviving is her sister-in-law, Tootie Buri of Davenport, Iowa.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her son-in-law, Ray Puckett; her siblings, Dorothy (Ted) Witbeck, Helen (Phil) Swanson, Bill (Lillian) Gillett; her great-grandson, Eadon; nephew, Jerry Bowman; and nieces, Judy Swanson and Denise Ludwig.
Visitation for Ruth will take place Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home in Traverse City. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, at the Evart United Methodist Church, 619 N. Cherry St., Evart, with visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in Forest Hill Cemetery in Evart. To affirm Ruth’s love for the color purple, we would ask that you wear some sort of purple to her visitation or service.
Memorial contributions in Ruth’s name may be directed to the Evart United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 425, Evart, MI 49631.
Please share your favorite memories and stories of Ruth with her family by way of her online tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home of Traverse City and Corey Funeral Home, Evart.