Ruth Mildred Gradine Brynelson
Ruth Brynelson, 97, died peacefully on November 1, 2021 surrounded by the love of her family.
Her five children and their families were Ruth's pride and joy. She was fortunate to have all of them living nearby during her last few years. Ruth never said no to an invitation to a family dinner, a grandchild's birthday party or athletic event, or a card game. She loved to bring her famous avocado dip or potato salad and was happy to bake an angel food cake for dessert, served with her homegrown raspberries. Her children and grandchildren spent many hours trying to beat Ruth at cribbage, and once in a while they won a game. None of them ever beat her at bridge.
Ruth was proud to be a registered nurse and had a passion for her calling. She worked professionally to age 79, after which she continued to care for family and friends in need. Residents of Lake Oswego knew her as an office nurse for doctors O'Shea and Woolcott, and later doctors Wagner and Riss. She gave thousands of injections, performed laboratory tests, took x-rays, and assisted with office procedures. Many referred to her as 'Dr. Ruth.'
In her First Addition neighborhood, Ruth was known for her garden and shared her peonies, dahlias, and irises with anyone who wanted a start. Children on the street learned that if they admired her flowers she might let them pick one. And for many years a bottle of her homegrown raspberry jam or dilled green beans have been a coveted gift.
Ruth worshipped at Our Savior's Lutheran Church; those who attended early services knew Ruth by her smile. She demonstrated her faith by her deeds: she knit hats and prayer shawls, sewed quilts, and collected donated clothing.
Widowed at age 68, Ruth had a wonderful circle of friends who served as travel companions, casino cavorters, fellow Lions and Elks club members, and of course, bridge partners. In her 90's Ruth was still playing bridge four times a week, including a monthly game with eight women, three of them Ruth's age. She bid and made her last grand slam at age 94.
Ruth leaves sons Richard Brynelson (Janet), Donald Brynelson (Lynda), Thomas Brynelson (Chris), and Douglas Brynelson (Marcia), and her daughter Barbara (Steve Hirsh). She will be missed by her grandchildren Bryan, Sara, Kimberly, Brianne, Carly, Megan, Daniel, Dane, Ari, Troy, and Talia, their spouses and partners; eleven great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Lester Brynelson; grandson Bradley Brynelson; son-in-law Elan Halperin; her late-life companion Don Whitney; and siblings Elwood Gradine, Ethel Athey, and Marjorie Pasek.
In lieu of flowers, plant a rose or dahlia in your own garden. Donations may be made in Ruth's memory to the Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, the Children's Center of Clackamas County in Oregon City, or the charity of your choice. Her virtual funeral service will be on November 20, 2021 at 11 AM, streaming link available at https://www.facebook.com/OurSaviorsLO/