Obituary of Ruth JoAnn Bjerke Henderson
December 5, 2018
Ruth JoAnn Bjerke Henderson, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great grandmother, passed away November 21, 2018, one short week after being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
Ruth is survived by her loving husband Robert Henderson, her devoted sister Sharrie, her children: Marcy Pendergast (Ken), Katherine Ferrell (Shaun), Jody Strong (Ken), Karen Black (Don), Diana Martinez (Bill), Jerry Henderson (Karen), and Jeff Henderson; seventeen cherished grandchildren and nine beloved great grandchildren. Ruth was predeceased by her parents: Dave and Florence Bjerke, her brothers: Dave Jr., Leon and Vern Bjerke and her sisters: Delores Holland and LaDonna Hoon.
Ruth was born September 26, 1940, in Mayville, North Dakota, the sixth of seven children of Dave and Florence Bjerke. Ruth was very proud of her Norwegian heritage and spoke often and lovingly of the sacrifices and hard work that her parents and grandparents made in order to provide a better life for future generations. She carried this strong work ethic throughout her life, in any position she held, teaching all of us how to make a difference and always give our very best.
Ruth was a lifelong learner who was passionate about books, volunteering her time reading with elementary students and working in the Durham
Public Library. She not only enjoyed her book club, but she was never without a good read to share when visiting her daughters. Ruth was passionate about life and lived in a manner that allowed all of those around her to shine. Her gardens were a testament to her gentle, nurturing nature, surrounding each home with beautiful roses, fruit trees and sweet statuary. Ever the compassionate listener, she effortlessly always seemed to know exactly what was needed and offered her wisdom only when asked.
Ruth happily married Robert Henderson in March of 1996, settling back into Durham in the middle of his almond orchard. They shared over 22 years together, traveling, gardening, playing pinochle, attending local theatre, enjoying the Good Sam's Club and spending time with their dear
friends, their families and especially each other. Ruth spoke often of her big, extended family and the many chapters of her life so filled because of them. She was a true lady, full of grace, a quick wit, a brilliant mind and a kind heart. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Ruth's honor, Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 1:00pm at the Durham United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Durham Friends of the Library.