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Death and grief are common human experiences, yet these experiences tend to be different for every individual. As a result, Hamilton's Academy of Grief & Loss offers a wide variety of resources available to you and your family as you begin to work through your grief.
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Academy of Grief and Loss
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Service Details


Memorial Service Only


Friday, February 24, 2017
2:00 pm
Luther Park Community Center
2824 E. 16th Street
Des Moines, Iowa


Body donation to the University of Iowa


Hamilton's Funeral Home
605 Lyon Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 243-5221

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Ruth Evelyn Starkey

Ruth Evelyn Starkey
Of Des Moines, Iowa

Ruth Evelyn Starkey was born February 25th, 1923, to Harvey and Louisa Marie (Miene) Moore, of Luana, Iowa. She passed away peacefully at Mercy Hospice House on February 8th, 2017. She was the 6th of 9 siblings in her family. She attended Luana schools and in 1940, married Clifford Starkey. This union produced two daughters, Donna Marie and Linda Kay. She worked during this time as a cook for the Luana Cons. School District, and was one of the first to introduce pizza to a rural Iowa audience.

In the mid 1970’s she moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where she met her future partner, Benjamin “Babe” Witten and worked as a cook at the Mitchellville women’s prison. After retiring in the early 1980’s she became involved in the Friendship Force of Greater Des Moines and traveled the globe with her frequent traveling partners Beverly and Bob Merkle of Des Moines. She served as the first two term president of the Iowa Friendship Force in the early 1990’s and was an ambassador for Iowa and the United States to over 40 countries and 6 continents. Later in life, she became interested in the genealogy of her family, and spent time studying her family history with groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of American Colonists among others.

She was preceded in death by her parents Harvey and Louisa Moore, six of her siblings, Bill Moore, Harley Moore, Jason Moore, Delpha Moore Brainard, Verna Moore Lenhart, and Virginia Moore Starkey; her daughters Linda Starkey-Smith and Rochelle Witten, and Babe Witten.

She is survived by half siblings Lorna (Dennis) Thompson, Larry (Beverly) Moore; her children Donna (Leroy) Luepker, Dwayne (Susan) Witten, Blake (Janet) Witten; her grandchildren Laurie (Jim) Bowers, Lonnie (Stacie) Luepker, Derek (Sonja) Smith, Jared Smith, Zach (Melissa) Little, Adam Witten, Alycia (James) Pyle, Adriana Witten, Anthony (Catie) Witten, and Amanda Witten; as well as 12 great grandchildren.

Memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Friday, February 24, 2017 at Luther Park Community Center, 2824 E. 16th Street, Des Moines.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make donations to either Meals on Wheels or Mercy Hospice in Johnston.

In 1973, she donated her body to science at the University of Iowa.

Condolences may be expressed at: www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com