Ruth Anne (Barnes) Kunze

May 21, 1932 ~ May 22, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Ruth Kunze Obituary

Ruth Anne Barnes Kunze passed away peacefully, at the age of 91, on May 22, 2023.

Ruth was born on May 21, 1932, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Tom and Anna Friedrich Barnes. She was the oldest of four children. Ruth attended Catholic school in Pittsburgh and graduated from Allegheny High School in 1950. While still in grade school, Ruth applied for and secured entry to an extracurricular art school funded by a philanthropist. Her artistic talents blossomed in the years attending weekend classes, and they nurtured her throughout her life. In the Fall of 1950, she began attending the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education in 1955. Ruth also completed her Master's Degree in Library Science in 1970 from the University of Utah.

While attending the University of Pittsburgh, Ruth met her soon-to-be husband, Jay Kunze, when they were both employed as aides at the Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. In 1953, Ruth and Jay decided to attend and then join the Unitarian Church on North Avenue in Pittsburgh. Ruth and Jay married on December 28, 1956, and took a short honeymoon to Niagara Falls. They lived in Pittsburgh until 1958 when Jay accepted a position with General Electric Co. on the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Project in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Ruth and Jay drove to Idaho Falls in late December of 1958. Ruth took a teaching position in Idaho Falls, and they purchased their first home on Jeri Avenue in 1959. They joined the local Unitarian Church which later became the Unitarian Universalist Church. Ruth and Jay had three sons, John Thomas was born on November 17, 1959; Richard Jay was born on May 8, 1962; and Robert William was born on August 20, 1967. They eventually bought a piece of land on the west side of Idaho Falls and built a geodesic dome house. Their family vacations were often spent camping, along with a yearly summer trip to Pittsburgh to visit family. Ruth and Jay divorced in 1981. Ruth soon purchased a home on Westhill Avenue in Idaho Falls where she continued to be a school librarian until she left education in 1987. Ruth worked in other businesses, usually performing organizational duties and retired in 1992.

Later in life, Ruth was fortunate to have a ‘lost’ brother contact her. Dick Henry was given up for adoption when born, and Ruth had no memory of him. They conversed often and were able to meet and become brother and sister as adults.

After retiring, Ruth, being creative and independent, worked part-time at various businesses and fully pursued her passion for art. She took many classes in a variety of areas of art and produced many pieces which she would later have on display at a local art gallery in Idaho Falls, and even began selling handmade paper books. She also enjoyed traveling and spending time with friends and fellow members of her church. In her later years, Ruth settled into her final home at Parkwood Meadows.

Ruth is survived by her sons, John (Lorraine) Kunze of Auburn, WA, Richard (Carmen) Kunze of Lincoln, CA, and Robert (Charlene) Kunze of Moscow, ID; eight grandchildren, Jackie, Samantha, Joanne, Andrea, Steven, Ava, Dax, and Nia; as well as three great-grandchildren, Soren, Lyra, and Reina; her brother, Dick (Doris) Henry; as well as two nieces and two nephews.

In addition to her parents, Ruth was preceded in death by her brothers, Ray (1959) and Tom (2007).

A celebration of life service will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 555 E Street, in Idaho Falls on Friday, June 23, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. The service will be summer casual and the family asks that any donations in Ruth's memory be made to either a local school library or a public library in her memory.

A special quote Ruth requested in her remembrance, "Caring is the greatest thing, caring matters most" by Friedrich von Hugel.



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Celebration of Life
June 23, 2023

1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Uniterian Universalist Church
555 E Street
Idaho Falls, ID 83402


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