Ruth Francisco

May 13, 1924 - April 12, 2016
Grand Rapids, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Although she was more quiet and reserved by nature, it was easy to see that Ruth Francisco lived life to the fullest and cherished the moments she spent with her loved ones. She worked hard in everything she did, but she also made the time to enjoy some of her favorite things along the way. Ruth was a loving and devoted wife and mother, but she was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother and great-grandmother later in life. Throughout her life she faced trials at times, but she was a woman of grace, courage, and strength that were such an inspiration. Dearly loved, Ruth will be forever missed.

It was great to be an American during the 1920s as innovation led the way to new technology that transformed the way we lived our daily lives. Radios, washing machines, and cars mass produced on assembly lines were signs of the time, and we also celebrated the end of the silent film era. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1924 when Guy and Hazel (Williams) Kilmury were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Ruth on May 13th in Traverse City, Michigan.

The only child in her family, Ruth was raised on a farm on Old Mission Peninsula. She enjoyed living on the farm and was described as a good kid. For her education, Ruth attended local schools and then went on to attend nursing school at Butterworth School of Nursing, graduating as a registered nurse.

With her education behind her, Ruth returned to Traverse City and began working at Munson Hospital. This proved to be quite fateful as it was there that she met the man of her dreams. His name was Gale Francisco, and he worked in the pharmacy. Gale was about six years younger than she was, but sparks flew between them. They began dating and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Ruth and Gale were married on January 4, 1949. Because Guy was in the Army for a time they moved around a bit together during their early years. Together they welcomed three children including Janet, Ann Marie, and Patty into their hearts and home. Once Gale was discharged, they returned to Traverse City. As a family they enjoyed being together and took a vacation every year. Many vacations were to Niagara Falls, and Ruth and Guy also took a trip together once a year.

Throughout her life Ruth was one to work hard. She spent some time working in a doctor’s office, but she went to work for her husband when he and a family member started their own business, Campus Christian Supply in Traverse City. Later, they started Front End Bookstore in Cadillac. Ruth and Gale later moved on and established Bride & Card Shop in downtown Grand Rapids. She spent many years working alongside her husband there, but once their children were older they sold the store and moved away from Grand Rapids. Eventually, Ruth and her husband made their way to Vero Beach, Florida, where they both worked for Hallmark. At times they did take their motorhome back to Michigan to visit their daughters and grandchildren.

After her husband died in 1991, Ruth decided to return to Grand Rapids in order to be closer to her family. She also continued to work for Hallmark as she was not one to be idle for too long. In her time away from work, Ruth enjoyed quilting, sewing, and doing crafts. In fact, she kept busy with crafts throughout her life as she and Gale enjoyed going to craft sales and selling some of their pieces while he was still alive. Eventually, Ruth moved into Marsh Ridge Community as one of the first residents. She really enjoyed the company and companionship there and could often be found playing cards. Although her health was good for most of her life, her health did decline in recent days.

All who knew Ruth Francisco would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She was kind, gracious, and loving with a heart that was as big as they come. Ruth treasured her family, and it was when surrounded by her family and friends that she was truly happy. She will never be forgotten.

Mrs. Ruth Francisco, age 91 of Grand Rapids, passed away on April 12, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gale. Ruth is survived by her daughters Janet (George) Dressander, Ann Marie (Dennis) Bouwkamp, Patty Amos; 6 grandchildren: Shane (Angie) Dressander, Abby (Bryan) Moler, Erica (Chris) Hulett, Kara (Ryan) Kimball, Lisa (Michael) Eychaner, Zachary (Jennifer) Eychaner, 10 great grandchildren and many friends at Marsh Ridge Retirement Community. Cremation has taken place and a graveside service will be held at a later date at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens. To read more about Ruth's life, to share a memory or to sign her register book, visit