Ruth Vigen


   Ruth Vigen, 98, of Jefferson, IA, formerly of St. Olaf, IA died Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, IA.

She was born on May 3, 1916, in Finley, North Dakota, the daughter of Severt and Ellen Olson Jacobson. Ruth was confirmed and became a member of the Ostervold Evangelical Lutheran Church in ND on June, 1930. On October 22, 1938, she was united in marriage to Maurice Obert Vigen in Portland, ND. He preceded her in death on July 19, 1999.

Ruth graduated from Finley High School in Finley, ND with the Class of 1934. While in high school she played on the girls’ basketball team.  

She attended the State Normal School in Mayville, ND and received her teacher’s certificate. She began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in North Dakota. She taught in North Dakota for four years before moving to St. Olaf. She than attended Upper Iowa University in Fayette, IA and received her B.A. degree on August 12, 1965. She had taught grade school for the MFL Community School District for 29 years before her retirement. She couldn’t have found a better profession as she loved to teach children and watch them grow. She was often mentioned as a favorite teacher by high school graduates.

She and Maurice loved to dance the polka and the waltz. In 1999, Ruth and Maurice were crowned King and Queen of the St. Olaf Uffda Days, which was very special to her as she was very proud of her Norwegian heritage. No one could make better lefse, krumkake, spritz, lutefisk and other Norwegian delights, even though everyone in her family has tried.

She was a member of the Norway Lutheran Church in St. Olaf, IA. While a member of the Norway Lutheran Church, she served as superintendent of the Sunday school, taught Bible School for many years and had served as president of the Ladies Aid. She attended Christ Lutheran Church in Jefferson, IA and was a member of WELCA. 

Ruth was a member of the Northeast Iowa Reading Council, Retired Teachers of Northeast Iowa, Mid-Winter Card Club, 500 Card Club, the Thursday 500 Card Club and the Greene County Medical Center Auxiliary in Jefferson.

She enjoyed doing ceramics and making ceramics for her family; after her retirement she took up oil painting and leaves many beautiful paintings that are cherished by her family. She enjoyed china painting and also enjoyed crocheting, crossword puzzles and traveling. She loved a good game of cards and always played to win.

Ruth was a loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and cherished the time she spent with her family. She wanted to make sure her family sticks together, continue to attend church and always be there to help each other.

She had a quick wit and great sense of humor and often surprised those around her with her witty remarks at unexpected times.

She is survived by her children, Karen Bossard (John) of Jefferson, IA, Gene Vigen (Judy) of Elkader, IA, Kasey Vigen (June) of Kansas City, Kathi Meyer (Al) of Jefferson, IA, Marcus Vigen (Sarah) of Keokuk and Scott Vigen of Kansas City, a daughter–in-law, Marianne Vigen Stanard; grandchildren, Darren Vigen , Darice Fink, Kelly DeFrance, Kristine Bossard, Aaron Burlingame, Tim Meyer, Kirk Vigen, Kerrie Bossard, Eric Vigen, Jason Vigen, Cynthia Reynoldson,  Melissa Vigen,  Matthew Vigen, Joshua Vigen, many great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, step-grandchildren and step-great grandchildren, two sisters, Jane Hanson of Mayville, ND and Florence Ludwig of Portland, ND, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and former students. 

She was also preceded in death by twin daughters at birth, Ellen Josephine Vigen and Gloria Patricia Vigen; one son, Otis Vigen; eight sisters, Kristi Crain, Mary Varberg, Esther Johnson, Nettie Christianson, Mildred Johnson, Ingaborg Osland, Agnes Ostlie and Ellen Meyer; and five brothers, Andrew Jacobson, Burt Jacobson, Tom Jacobson, Knut Jacobson and Albert Jacobson.

Funeral services were held 11 a.m. Monday, May, 12, 2014 at the Norway Lutheran Church in rural St. Olaf, IA with Rev. Ken Kimball officiating. Burial was in the Norway Lutheran Church Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Christ Lutheran Church in Jefferson, IA or Norway Lutheran Church in St. Olaf, IA.

The Vigen Memorial Home in Keokuk IA is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made to the family at


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