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Ruth Priscilla (nee Fallstrom) Itzov went home to her Savior and to reunite with family on September 11, 2019. She was born December 16, 1931 to John (Juho) and Eva (Eeva, nee Antiroiko) Fallstrom, Finnish immigrants to Stonington, Michigan. She was the second youngest of nine children and last remaining among her siblings, Aileen (Laurie) Salmio, Oiva Fallstrom, Siiri (William) Hansen, Elvi (Norman) Loy, Rauni (John) Walters, Miriam Canter (Fred, Arthur) Nichelson, Oliver Fallstrom, and Leo (Rosemary) Fallstrom.
Ruth was united in marriage to Andrew Itzov on September 5, 1954. They had just celebrated 65 years of marriage—a journey of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, joy, and always generosity. Ruth and Andy had five children, Ted (friend, Jannie) Itzov of Manitou Springs, Colorado; Greta (Dan) Bemi of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; Becky (Brad) Guthrie of Livonia, Michigan; Debbi (Tom) Goehner of West Bend, Wisconsin; and Paula (George) Hanson, who preceded her in death. The family was also blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Katie (Chris) Jackson, Sandy Guthrie, Eva Goehner, Ilana Goehner, Mahjia Fredrick, and Jack Huelskamp. She also leaves behind step-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many others who were touched by their generous hospitality and love.
Ruth was a precocious child who loved music and singing, joining in song not only at home with her family, but also regularly for public events. She was the first of her siblings to graduate high school (at 16) and attend college. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Northern Michigan University and began her career as a teacher. After raising her children, she returned to teaching, and then to school to hone her administrative skills. She began her career in higher education, working in the Department of Foreign Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Always pursuing excellence, she completed her Master of Educational Psychology degree at UWM, and continued her career in foreign student admissions and counseling at UWM and Marquette University. Besides her professional career, she volunteered in the community, directing the church family choir, acting as the long-time editor and publisher of the St. Francis church publication, The Canticle, and serving many years on the board and later as president of the Menomonee Falls Historical Society. Ruth loved writing and sharing culture with her community. She cherished her thrift and resourcefulness, which were foundational in creating the plans for the two homes that they built.
A hallmark of Ruth and Andy's home was—and continues to be—hospitality. Innumerable dinners with family, extended family, and friends are the highlight of gatherings at the Itzov house. Over the decades, they opened their home to family members, foreign exchange students, and others who received a warm and welcoming place to live for a time while navigating life's inevitable challenges.
Ruth surely will be remembered by her sweet, warm, and honest smile and her sparkling blue eyes—characteristics which showed her enveloping love, sense of humor, sly wit, and intellect. Most who knew her would agree that she possessed that Finnish sisu, a fierce determination and steadfastness. With her unwavering faith, she truly was a reflection of her biblical namesake: a devoted, giving, and loving woman of God. As Andy puts it, he is a lucky man to have been her husband.
The family is especially grateful for the loving care provided over the past year by the staff of Heart and Hands Home Care, LLC, International Quality Homecare, and Seasons Hospice.
A funeral service in remembrance of Ruth will be held on Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis Episcopal Church, N84 W16525 Menomonee Ave., Menomonee Falls, WI.
The family will greet relatives and friends at the church on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.
Memorials can be made to St. Francis Episcopal Church outreach (P.O. Box 194 Menomonee Falls, WI 53052).
The Myrhum Patten Miller & Kietzer Funeral Homes have been entrusted with Ruth’s arrangements. Additional information and guest book may be found at www.myrhum-patten.com.