Ardell and Ruth Fedje were one of the first couples that we met when we moved to Rugby in 1988. This happened because Ardell, and my father-in-law, Norman Thompson, were roommates when they attended North Dakota Agricultural College now NDSU. They had common interests: farming and Norwegian heritage! Even though they had not spent a lot to time together since their college days, they fast-forwarded several decades and updated each other on their lives.
This reunion instantly connected us to the Fedje family, and when we would see them about the community, at concerts or in church, they would alwtays visit. It was, however, when Ruth became a member of the Rugby Lions Club that I came to know Ruth well and to appreciate her many talents.
For several years, the Rugby Lions Club hosted a tabletop event called “Tables Envisioned.” Lions members along with the community were invited to display a table collection of dishes, and funds raised from this display event were donated to the former North Dakota Lions Cornea Center. Ruth’s willingness to help others and support a worthy cause came shining through.
She entered several tables in the years that this fundraiser was presented. It was, however, her table that featured pink Depressions glass that showcased the many facets of her personality. Nostalgia is a powerful force to be reckoned with. Vintage jewelry enthusiasts know this all too well; and Ruth Fedje was a person who appreciated vintage rhinestone jewelry. It is easy for me to articulate the instant that I noticed this spark and shine in Ruth. She had set a beautiful table all in shades of pink and her creative mind had lovely vintage ladies’ handkerchiefs posed as napkins and the stunning napkin rings were vintage rhinestone broaches.
Ruth was a progressive person and would have recalled the day when the Lions Club was for men only, and specifically for business men. Thank goodness a point to wisdom came upon Lions International and they became an inclusive club. Lucky for us in Rugby, many women have joined and have guided the club through the treetops and to the open sky of many more opportunities.
Charter Night for Lions Club is an evening that the president of the club wants it to shine. Other clubs are invited along with dignitaries. When I served as president, I enjoyed every detail of this evening including planning the menu, making two special salads, entertainment, and setting the tables. I have always been particular about tablecloths that they be ironed well. So, I hauled my ironing board and iron to banquet room. Ruth came to help and upon seeing equipment, she quickly exited and returned within minutes armed with her ironing board and iron. We pressed away, and upon achieving crisp flat linens, her response was “this does look so beautiful and was worth the extra effort.” That was Ruth and once again her rhinestone personality of taking care of all facets and making sure things were smooth came shining through.
Ruth loved shoes and being a photographer who noticed details, her fine collection caught my eye several times. Over the years, she stepped into family weddings, receptions, concerts and other events with a fine flare. She wore many shoes; however, her step was always toward family, helping others, serving her church, promoting Rugby, extensive volunteering and being progressive. Thank you, Ruth, for your priceless gifts and inspiration. Rest in peace, dear friend.
This recipe comes from Ruth’s reliable collection. It was a favorite of hers and one that she often took to fundraisers and other events.
By Ruth (Ellsworth) Fedje
1 cup of flour
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter
3 cups chopped rhubarb
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
12 oz cream cheese
½ cup sugar
8 oz sour cream
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ cup butter. Mix until crumbly and pat into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan.
In medium bowl, toss together 3 cups of chopped rhubarb, ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Place on top of patted crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to temperature to 350 degrees.
Mix together 12 oz cream cheese, ½ cup sugar and 2 eggs and pour this over hot rhubarb and bake for 30 minutes.
Mix together 8 oz sour cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Spread over the top of cheesecake and bake for 5 minutes.