Ruth Craig McKnight Sterkel

ruth sterkel

February 23, 1935 ~ March 18, 2019

Resided in: Pueblo West, CO

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,

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Memories Timeline


  1. Ruth and I were classmates beginning in elementary school. I am so very sorry to learn of her passing. Her life really blossomed once Ron and the children became part of it. Her lovely, quiet spirit lives on in her family.

  2. Ron, we are so appreciative for having known Ruth, her graciousness provided us with the inspiration to be better. Steve and Sarah Flack

  3. Robert & I just heard about Ruth. We want to send our condolences. Please get in touch when you are ready. 303-777-6793

  4. We were so saddened to learn of Ruth’s passing. She was such a special lady — so kind, generous and a great sense of humor! We will cherish her memory. Ron, words cannot express how sorry we are for your loss. Love, Marty and Charlie Weller

  5. Dear Ron and family … We were so sorry to read of Ruth’s passing. When I think of Ruth, I think of her in your garden in Champaign, a place that gave her much joy, I know. I hope that your memories of her and her wonderful, caring life will be comforting to all of you. Our thoughts and sympathies are with you … Bob and Sharon

  6. Ron we we’re so sorry to read of Ruth’s passing. Please accept our sincere sympathy for your loss. We have many happy memories of our times together when you lived in Champaign.
    Alan and Pat Madsen

  7. Misty and I from SRDA have been so thankful to have helped provide some care and companionship this past year. Your home always revealed an artistic eye. Now when I walk with my dogs at the xeriscape gardens in Pueblo West, I will pause to remember Ruth’s hand at shaping such ongoing beauty and a place of peace.
    Karen Akin and Misty Thostenson, SRDA

  8. I send my blessings and prayers to Ruth’s immediate family, especially my dear friend, Janet. May your mother’s blessings and love remain with you throughout your journey.

  9. Dear sue,

    We are very sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers go to you, your dad and your family. May the memories of a wonderful family life fill your hearts with love and gratitude.

    Love Maria and Oswaldo

  10. Much love to you Ron Mark Sue and Janette as you lay dear Ruth to rest. As you gather with Ralph, Beth and Gary just know our thoughts and prayers are with each of you!
    Much Love,
    Teresa and Jim

  11. Ed and I are so sorry for your loss. We have fond memories of Ron and Ruth’s visit in Vacaville. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

  12. We surely hate to hear it, Mark. I lost my mom in ’03 and I know it’s devastating. We are thinking of you and your family.

  13. Dear Mark and Beth,

    Yvonne and I send our thoughts and prayers to you during this time sorrow.

  14. Dear Ron,

    I am so saddened to learn of Ruth’s unexpected passing. Sending prayers and blessings to you and your family as you journey through this chapter in your lives. It was an honor to have the opportunity to get to know you both.

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