Ruth Agnes Sarwark passed away peacefully in her Phoenix home, surrounded by her children, her sister and brother-in-law, and her niece, on Wednesday night, November 12, 2008. Ruth was born on November 7th, 1924, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. She was the 12th of 13 children born to her German immigrant parents Frank and Apollonia Van De Beuken, and the first of the children to be born in a hospital. She is survived by her sisters Rita Ann Beguhl Marvin of Salinas, CA and Sister Clara Van De Beuken of Dayton, OH, and sister-in-law, Dorothy Sarwark of Chicago; daughter Susan Sarwark Robert MacCallum of Columbus, OH; son Frank Mary Elizabeth, daughters Mary Ann Bishop David and Helen Howell Rick of AZ; grandchildren Nick Sarwark and Megan Howell; four step-grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren; and 34 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her loving husband Roman “Slim” Sarwark, her brothers Fred, Francis “Hank”, Joseph, and Edward, and sisters Apollonia “Polly”, Elizabeth, Helen, Catherine, Elizabeth, Mary, Gertrude,
Ruth was raised on her parents’ citrus grove on Lafayette and attended St. Mary’s High School. After marrying, she and her husband Roman lived and raised their children in the same Camelback/Arcadia neighborhood where she grew up. Ruth was a devout Catholic and active in the mid-50s in the sodality of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish. She also helped Father Maguire with bookkeeping, publishing the parish bulletin, working on raffles and bake sale projects to raise money for the young parish. She loved helping to make the hundreds of crepe-paper roses to decorate the floats for the historic Miracle of the Roses parade through Scottsdale for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Growing her own roses was one of the great joys of her life and she shared her roses with friends until the week before her death. She was a wonderful cook and in the 50s and 60s regularly brought homemade pot roasts and chicken soup down to the workers at her husband’s auto dealership in downtown Phoenix. Ruth also enjoyed sewing, taking her children on cross-country car trips, and her kids, their friends, nieces and nephews to the Verde River, Oak Creek Canyon, and to Globe, the California coast, and Salinas to visit family. Ruth worked alongside her husband and her son Frank until early 2007 keeping the books and working with customers. She was loved by her co-workers and customers, as well as many others in the Scottsdale/Phoenix community.
Her children express their gratitude and appreciation to loving caregivers Shawn, Ina, and Kathy. Visitation will be held 3:00 – 6:00 PM, with a Scripture Service at 5:00 PM, Sunday, November 16th at Whitney&Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ. Funeral mass will be celebrated on November 17th at 10:00 AM at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, 5045 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, with burial at St. Francis Cemetery.