Ruth Dieter

Ruth Dieter Mary Ruth Shuler Dieter, 97, was born August 12, 1921 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, the daughter of George H.
and Maggie (Willis) Shuler. Ruth grew up in the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and graduated
from high school at Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, Kentucky. Following graduation, she
attended Strayer Business College in Washington, D.C., and then returned to Pine Mountain Settlement
School as their bookkeeper and English Country Dance Instructor. She also worked at the Gregory
Publishing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio for two years. Ruth then attended Berea College in Berea, Kentucky
and graduated from college in 1948. Following graduation, Ruth worked for Berea College and the Council
of Southern Mountain Workers in Asheville, North Carolina and then returned to Berea to work for Dr.
Donald Dieter, Surgeon, at the college.
In 1948, Ruth moved to Kansas to help Dr. Donald Dieter open up his medical practice in Salina, Kansas.
She was Dr. Dieter’s Office Manager for several years. She was an accountant for Roy Simmons, C.P.A. and
William H. Sears, C.P.A. in Abilene, retiring in 2004.
Ruth married John P. Dieter of Abilene, Kansas on July 8, 1950 and all of her married life was spent in
Abilene. There were no children. Her husband, John, died April 21, 1999.
Ruth was always very active in the Abilene community. She was a member of Chapter JQ, P.E.O, past
member of Chapter GY, P.E.O., and a past State President of Kansas State Chapter, P.E.O. Ruth served as a
member of the Abilene Public Library Board, Ladies Literary League, Arts Council of Dickinson County,
Heritage Homes Association, Eisenhower Foundation Board, Dickinson County Historical Society Board,
Great Plains Theatre Board, and Historical Seelye Foundation Board, as well as being very involved in the
First Presbyterian and First United Methodist churches and as a volunteer with Memorial Hospital. For her
service to Abilene, she received several recognitions including Volunteer of the Year and Distinguished
Citizen of the Year. For her successful efforts in leading the physical & financial restoration of Pine
Mountain School, and for her work in helping the underprivileged young children of the mountains, the
state of Kentucky honored Ruth twice as a Kentucky Colonel. Her work as a Pack Horse Librarian, delivering
books to children in remote mountain communities by horseback, was recognized as recently as 2018 in a
National Public Radio news feature and a Rolling Stone magazine article.
Ruth loved people and especially children. She was exceedingly generous with her time and resources.
Neighbors quickly became her friends and her friends were forever in her heart. Ruth worked tirelessly and
was a fierce advocate for the people and causes closest to her heart.
Ruth passed peacefully at the Village Manor in Abilene on April 14, 2019. Several nieces and nephews, and
a host of genuine friends survive Ruth. She treasured each one. Her three sisters and one brother preceded
her in death.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Friday, April 19 at the First United Methodist Church in Abilene.
Interment will follow in the Abilene Cemetery. It is requested that memorial contributions in Ruth’s name
be made to Chapter JQ, P.E.O, to support educational opportunities for women through scholarships and
grants. Memorials may be left at or sent in care of the Danner Funeral Home, PO Box 758, Abilene, Kansas
67410.

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