Ruth Gervase Hansen, 88, of Walnut, died on Thursday, February 9, 2023 (the day before her 89th birthday) at her home. Ruth was born in Philadelphia, PA; the daughter of evangelist and musician parents, Adam and Dolly (Dallas) Lutzweiler, who held successive pastorates in Newport, NJ; Weston, MI; and Dixon, IL. In 1920, her father was billed in vaudeville as “Lou Adams, World’s Greatest Jazz Marimba Artist,” whose story “From Show Business to Preacher” was featured on the radio program, Unshackled, on WMBI in 1955.
Ruth was a 1951 graduate of Dixon High School, and attended Arizona Bible Institute. She was employed at Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Ruth married John Gervase in 1954 in LaGrange. They were active members of Western Springs Village Church, the only pastorate of Reverend Billy Graham prior to his crusade, who was also the founder of the ongoing Songs in the Night live, weekly broadcast from the church for many years. Ruth often typed the script as an office volunteer. She also volunteered at the local hospital, and was actively involved in the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs. Ruth was a past member of the LaGrange Historical Society, Better Films Bureau, and Oriental Institute of Chicago.
Throughout the 1970’s, Ruth was known as “The Bible Story Lady” with Biblical portrayals in poetry, prose, and drama - which included a presentation from her self-published book, The Christmas Angel, at the Christmas Garden and Toy Fantasy Show held at McCormick Place in Chicago. She even made several appearances at the Cook and Kane County jails. Ruth was also a contestant in the 1979 Mrs. Illinois America contest. Highlights of her life included family reunions, summers on the farmette in rural Stockton, a family cruise, two trips to the Holy Land, and a mission trip to Russia. Ruth enjoyed hobbies of writing, gardening, music, drawing house plans and sewing.
Ruth moved to Stockton, IL in 1980 to operate a Bed & Breakfast and country restaurant named Memory Lane from her Victorian farmhouse. She later converted the property to Memory Lane Christian Center in 1986, a non-profit shelter care facility with a special outreach to individuals with disabilities. Upon retirement in 1996, Ruth moved to Tombstone, AZ where she taught a weekly Bible class at the Bisbee County Jail and worked as a hostess/waitress at the local O.K. Cafe. She returned to Illinois in 1998 and became active at First Open Bible Church in Rock Falls. Ruth married Wendell Hansen on May 31, 2000 in Sterling, IL and attended Rock River Christian Center and later New Bedford Christian Church.
Survivors include her husband Wendell, of Walnut, IL; two daughters, Debby (Jim) Mason of Naperville, IL and Mickey (Paul) Franson of Deerfield, IL; one son, John (Kathy) Gervase of Burr Ridge, IL; four stepchildren, Sandy (Wes) Storm of Princeton, IL; Phil (Mary Lou) Hansen of Austin, TX; Steve (Melinda) Hansen of Mendota, IL and Mark (Gina) Hansen of Van Orin, IL; one sister, Esther (Bob) Erwin of Greenville, TX; two brothers, Adam Lutzweiler Jr. of Riodoso, NM; James (Shelly) Lutzweiler of Jamestown, NC; and sister-in-law, Lois Lutzweiler of Saxonburg, PA. Ruth had eight grandchildren and eight step-grandchildren. Ruth and Wendell also shared 21 great grandchildren.
Everyone who knew Ruth knows she loved the Lord Jesus, her Lord and Savior, more than life itself. She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, David Lutzweiler. Ruth is now experiencing eternal life with her loved ones. All Believers will spend Eternity with Ruth and those who have gone before her. Eternal life is a beautiful gift available to anyone who will accept it.
Cremation rites will be accorded. Memorial service will be held at 3:00pm on Sunday, March 5, 2023 at New Bedford Christian Church with Pastor Troy Campbell officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Love Empowers, ℅ Michele Franson, 860 Deere Park Court, Deerfield, IL 60015. Ruth’s granddaughter, Cara Mpeirwe, lives in Uganda, Africa. Love Empowers is Cara’s 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that helps many Ugandan people to provide for their families by training them to farm and raise livestock. Cara and her husband Ivan do what they do in Jesus’ name.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth Gervase Hansen, please visit our floral store.