Ruth Vilmain

Ruth Ellen Lewright Vilmain, a devout Catholic, died peacefully on Easter Sunday April 17, 2022, surrounded by family at the UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin from complications of Leukemia. Ruth was born October 29, 1928, on the family farm near Sanborn, Iowa to Erma Ellen Lewright and Harold L. Lewright. The youngest daughter along with her brother Harry and sister Helen.

Ruth met her future husband, Francis Dominic Vilmain, while attending Iowa State University. Frank preceded her in death in Santa Fe, NM. in 2005.

She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a degree in Community Health in 1988 after raising her eight children.

Ruth worked as a lifeguard, medical secretary, hospital emergency triage and in many Catholic charities including 20 years at St. Vincent de Paul in the book room. Quilting and sewing were a passion throughout her life, as well as reading, which she passed onto her children, grand and great.

Ruth was a staunch progressive Democrat, starting with holding caucus meetings at her home in Cedar Falls, Iowa and later on traveling to Washington DC to participate in the 2017 Women’s March. 

Proceeded in death by her husband, parents, siblings and her grandchild, Caleb Stephen Vilmain who passed in 2010.

Survived by Suzanne of Santa Fe, NM: Jeannie of Denver, CO; Steve and Shannon of Des Moines, IA; Michael of Des Moines, IA; Judy and David of Providence, RI; Teresa and Kevin of Black Earth, WI; Jim and Chris of Urbandale, IA; David and Lauren of Middleton, WI. Eleven grandchildren: Jeremy, Martin, Tobigeyl, Jamie, Jessica, Dominic, Elliott, Joe, Ryan, Megan and 13 great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, and friends. 

There will be a visitation at 10 a.m. and a Celebration of Life Memorial Service at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 6 at St. Mary of Nazareth Catholic Church, 4600 Meredith Drive, Des Moines, Iowa. 

The family would like to thank all the wonderful care givers across the country who took such amazing care of our mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, mentor and dear friend. 

Memorial donations may be sent to St. Vincent de Paul of your choice or your favorite charity.


The Eagle Grove Eagle

The Eagle Grove Eagle
P.O. Box 6
304 West Broadway
Eagle Grove, IA 50533
Phone: 1-515-448-4745
FAX: 1-515-448-3182

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