Ruth Caroline Kempf

Ruth Caroline Kempf

Ruth Caroline Kempf

Iowa City

Ruth Caroline Kempf, 98, died peacefully on June 22, 2023 surrounded by family at Briarwood Health Care Center. Honoring her wishes, there will be a private family burial at Memory Gardens in Iowa City.

Ruth was born Oct. 15, 1924, to Joseph Bailey Smith and Matilde (Harper) Smith in West Virginia. She married Walter Kempf after the war and they moved to Iowa to make their home. They began their marriage in Joetown, Iowa where Walt worked at the Joetown store with Willard and Ollie Gingerich. Carolyn and Elaine considered Willie and Ollie their grandparents.

Ruth is survived by her two daughters, Carolyn (Jack) Burke and Elaine (Terry) Paul, both of Iowa City; eight grandchildren, Angie (Fred) Wilz, Amy (Tom) Brandt, Jeff (Kate) Burke, Eric Paul and Katie Paul; and great-grandchildren, Izzy, Grace, Jack Brandt, Zach and Hannah Wilz, and Delaney, Brady and Stella Burke.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Walt, in 2004; brothers, Benny, Martin, Luther, Clyde and Harry; sister, Mary; and grandson, Nicholas Wilz.

Ruth’s family expresses their gratitude for the care she received at Briarwood. In lieu of flowers, memorials may made to Essence of Life Hospice Care.

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