Ruth Craig McKnight Sterkel, 84, died unexpectedly, Monday, March 18, 2019 at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Ronald W. Sterkel; son, Mark (Beth) Sterkel; daughter, Sue (Ralph) Mendez; daughter, Janet Sterkel (Gary) Smith; grandchildren, Michael Smith; Paolo Mendez; Matthew Mendez; Connor Cook; and four great-grandchildren, Grace, Patrick, Hugo and Christian.
Ruth was born Feb. 23, 1935 in Bloomington, Ind. to Paul and Frances McKnight. She attended Indiana University where she studied English and art education. At the university she met Ronald Sterkel; they married on Nov. 14, 1956 and began their 62-year love affair.
In 1963 the family moved to Champaign, Ill. Ruth, a stay-at-home mom, was active in the University of Illinois Women's Club, gourmet groups and the Champaign Urbana Herb Society serving two terms as president. She enjoyed making crafts on consignment and working in her garden. She adored entertaining friends and university faculty, cooking and collecting arts and crafts.
When Ron retired, the couple moved to east Texas for seven years. Ruth, always an avid reader, joined a women's book club there. During the summers they would travel to their log cabin by the stream in Nederland, Colo. where they volunteered at the Visitor's Center and Nederland Historical Society.
Eventually they found their home with a magnificent view in Pueblo West. Both became active in creating the community xeriscape garden and volunteering at the Sangre de Cristo Art Museum. They loved to travel visiting Europe, Alaska, Canada and made several trips to Santa Fe to gallery hop.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 23, 2019, at the Montgomery & Steward Funeral Banquet Hall. Online condolences, www.MontgomerySteward.com