GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 11, 2015) — Retired Covenant missionary Ruth Noren, 90, died Wednesday night.
Ruth was born on April 30, 1925 to Albert and Signe Lundber in Red Oak, Iowa, where her father was pastor of the Covenant church. She trained at the School of Nursing in Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago to become a registered nurse. She also earned an associate’s degree from North Park College and and diploma from the Department of Religious Education at North Park Seminary.
She married Edwin Noren on August 11, 1951, when he still had two years left to finish at North Park Seminary. He died in 2012.
In 1953 they were called by the Covenant Annual Meeting to serve as missionaries in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). At Karawa, Ruth held prenatal and well-baby clinics and taught sewing to school girls. In Businga and Bumba, she taught reading classes (literacy) to women and helped in women’s work in the regions. At Gbado, she taught sewing to school girls, and Bible and domestic arts to the wives of Bible school students. At Goyongo, she taught English to men in the Bible Institute and the seminary, as well as Bible and domestic arts to the students’ wives.
She and Edwin served at Bokada, Karawa, Gbado, Bumba, Goyongo and Businga. She was always ready to help the Congolese nurse in charge of the dispensaries at the four stations where there was no hospital.
Ruth and Edwin retired after 37 years of involvement in the Congo. During those years, due to political unrest and family needs, they served a three-year pastorate in West Bay Covenant Church, Traverse City, Michigan, and later a two-year pastorate in Lake Norden, South Dakota. In retirement, they made their home in Cadillac, Michigan.
After “retiring,” they served eight interim pastorates – two in Ohio and six in Michigan. Ruth enjoyed playing piano and organ and played as needed in churches.
She is survived by Janice (Steve) Quakenbush, Paul (Sheryl) Noren and Dan (Kay) Noren, nine children, and nine great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 16, at First Covenant Church in Grand Rapids. Visitation will be at 10 a.m.
Memorial gifts may be given to Covenant World Mission.