In Loving Memory of
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Ruth Karen Dahl was born on June 15, 1922 on the homestead of her parents, Johan and Klara Dahl, the second child of three girls, including sisters Elsie and Lillian. She attended Quill Plains Country School, to which she and her sisters walked as they were only a half mile away and they seldom missed a day. Her favorite memories of school were the ball games and Christmas concerts. She wrote in her memoirs that a few times her dad loaded up the old piano on the sleigh box and hauled it to the school for the concert then back home again after the program.
Ruth’s parents milked cows, shipped the cream and sold eggs from their large flock of chickens in order to purchase groceries. She could never understand why, being the youngest, she was always sent to town with the cream and eggs in the old car. Her mother told her to park far away from the store, so no one knew she was driving without a license.
At the age of 12, the dentist’s wife asked Ruth to come to her place and sew clothes for her, to which Ruth’s mother said, “Yes she would”, but did not ask Ruther’s opinion. Ruth had no pattern to go by, so she cut them from newspapers. This began Ruth’s journey into women’s fashion. In 1943, when she was 21, Ruth purchased Viola’s Dress Shop in Watson, SK, from Viola Scontland, then expanded the store to Wadena in 1947. Sister Elsie and husband Art Hill operated the Watson store until they purchased it from Ruth in 1951.
In the meantime, while dancing at the new Wadena Legion Hall in 1948, which was still under construction and had no roof, she was introduced to the handsome George Swanson by Hazel Enderud. George and Ruth were married the following year on November 15, 1950.
Fashion flourished in those days when women always wore hats and dresses, full-length fur-trimmed coats, wool jackets and skirt lengths changed from mini to midi lengths, but Ruth attributed her success to her loyal and dedicated employees over the years who included: Eleanor McKinnon, Vera Hoodekoff, Dagny Lovdahl, Sophie Sauchuk, Jean Squires, Helen Gronsdahl, Agnes Harrison and Mary Liland and her husband George for his assistance and support. Viola’s sponsored many fashion shows and Ruth was well-known for her collection of costumes for which she could be counted on to provide for any event. She was also known to resew all the seams in any commercially made outfit that she wore as they just did not meet her stringent standards for quality-made clothing. Viola’s was in business in Wadena for almost 30 years by March 1976 when Ruth sold the store to Marilyn and Ted McGunigal.
Ruth loved to garden and cook; she was a great entertainer and served many full course meals to company from near and far.
In 1962 when he was less than one year old, nephew Douglas Stuike came to live with Ruth and George. He was the apple of their eyes but sadly he passed away on June 6, 2000. Ruth sold the farm after George’s passing in 2006 and moved into her house in Wadena, living there until 2012 when she moved to Pleasant View Care Home.
Ruth was predeceased by George, her loving husband of 57 years; nephews Doug Stuike and Richard Dahl; niece Karen Hill; sisters Elsie (Art) Hill and Lillian Stuike; brother John Dahl; parents Johan and Klara Dahl; parents-in-law Carl and Amanda Swanson and all seven of George’s siblings.
Left to mourn Ruth’s passing are her nephew Ken Stuike, niece Carol Stuike, the Dahl family of Watson and her close friends and neighbors.
Ruth had a beautiful smile and a caring heart. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her.