In Memory of Ruth Korder

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

There isn’t a day I haven’t thought of Ruth Korder or the impact she has on my life. I know it may sound cliché but she was the worlds greatest mom and I miss her. I had no idea when Debby and I went to visit Minnesota last summer that it would be the last time we would see her alive. Yes,  she had terminal cancer,  but we thought we had more time and in a mere week she was gone. The day we took her to the hospital she was humorous and full of life. We had no idea that the grilled cheese sandwich she ate that day would be her last meal in her house. We had no idea we were saying goodbye forever. She came to visit Las Vegas with her sisters, brother, friend, and other relatives last Spring she saw where I worked and lived. I am grateful she could see the life I live. Hopefully she had peace of mind that I had finally overcome some enormous mountains and finally had some stability in life. Below is her obituary which was written by my brother Dean. Also included is the eulogy I presented during her funeral.

Ruth Ann Korder (Putz), 77

Ruth A. Korder of Winona, Minnesota passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, August 3, 2014, surrounded by family, at Gunderson Health Systems in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

She was born in Owatonna, Minnesota to the late Raymond Putz and Bernice Malles (Putz, Busch) on March 20, 1937. She was so small she could fit in a shoe box and almost did not survive the harsh March weather. Her father died in a tragic fire early in her life and her mother then married the late Alfred Engel.
The family moved to a farm outside of Cochrane, Wisconsin. Ruth learned to bake in her mother’s kitchen, played the organ at church, and loved to sing. As she grew older, Ruth became a farm girl that wanted to escape the farm and see the world.

Ruth Putz married Eugene F. Korder on July 30, 1955. That began their fifty-nine year love affair and the start of their family of five. Sherri (Millner) came along in 1956. Dean followed in 1959. Vance in 1960. Kristi (Beeman) in 1964. And Casey in 1965. Their large family in tow, Ruth and Eugene moved where the Air Force took them, including stops in Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Plattsburg Air Force base in New York. The travel and the constant relocating instilled Ruth with an appetite for travel which, in her later years, she would share with her family and siblings. When Eugene’s father died, the family made the decision to move closer to home and this landed the family in Winona, Minnesota where they have lived for over four decades.

Besides being a devoted wife and mother, Ruth was always working to help support her family while Eugene was in the Air Force and after he retired. She worked at St. Mary’s University, Hal Leonard Publishing, and then as business manager and financial planner for the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. She coordinated volunteers and brought the parish into the modern age with her knowledge of computers. Ruth loved the pursuit of knowledge and continually challenged herself to learn. One of her proudest moments was in 1996 when she earned her Bachelors Degree as a Certified Public Accountant from Winona State University at the young age of 59.

Ruth was a vivacious woman whose life of love and happiness was spread in part to all who crossed her path. Family and friends were Ruth’s life and inspiration. She was the calendar grandma at Christmas and the homemade birthday card great grandma who always seemed to remember everyone’s special day.

Halloween was one of her favorite holidays. In 2002, her great grandchildren cajoled her into having a haunted house. She couldn’t refuse. That was the start of a new tradition that still carries on. Ruth always involved any and all children that wanted to help and participate. It has always been a special event for all involved.

Ruth’s artistic vision was articulated in many ways. Once running a small ceramic studio in the basement of her home and, after she retired, working at the local scrapbook store, Scrapper’s Haven, teaching classes and spending most of her earnings on supplies. She enjoyed crafts, sewing, trying new recipes, quilting, knitting, puzzles, games, crossword puzzles, cooking shows, and reading every and any book she could get her hands on; even the electronic variety with her Ipad.

She continually sought new creative outlets and there was nothing she couldn’t tackle. From building bookcases, insulating garages, wallpapering, and painting, she was an avid home decorator and remodeler.

She had a fondness for the New York Yankees and the Green Bay Packers. As a die-hard Packer fan she took many trips with her husband and family to the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. When the Packers offered public stock options she had to buy a piece of her favorite team. She proudly displayed her share in her “Packer Room,” She loved Brett Farve, even when he spent two years in a purple jersey!

But above all, Ruth loved her family. She loved having a houseful of people for Easter and Christmas dinners. Amid the chaos her warm personality, her sense of humor, and her touch of sarcasm came through. She was not afraid to speak her mind, but also was the first to offer encouragement and support when needed. She was quiet and thoughtful and protective of her family. Ruth will be dearly missed because she was the glue that has held us all together for so many years.

In the past few years, Ruth has dedicated herself to her husband, Eugene, after he suffered a stroke. If you wanted to know what true love was, all you had to do was see the two of them interact. She cared for him with a warm heart, a gentle touch, absolute love, and tucked him into bed every night with a song.

Ruth is survived by her brothers: Jerry (Jan) Putz, Robert Engel, William (Betty) Engel, her sisters: Rose Mary (John) Staige, Susan (Michael) Ellis, and Lucy (Anthony) Wolfe, her daughters: Sherri (Jerry) Millner, Kristi (Bob) Beeman, her sons: Casey Korder, Dean Korder. And her loving husband Eugene. She also leaves a legacy of six grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild.. She was preceded in death by her father, Raymond Putz, her mother, Bernice Malles/Putz/Engel/Busch, her brother, Ron Putz, and her son, Vance Korder.

Visitation will be held Thursday, August 7, at 9:30 a.m. at Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 360 Main Street Winona, Minnesota. A Memorial Prayer service, officiated by Father Tom Neihaus of Mankato, will follow in the church at 10:30 a.m.. A luncheon will be served in the church basement immediately following the service. Come and help us celebrate Ruth’s lush life. As Ruth would have wanted it, all are welcome.

Ruth’s final interment will be held at a later date at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In lieu of flowers, please consider food and household gift cards to ensure the continued support of her husband, Eugene.

Funeral Services provided by Hoff Funeral and Cremation Service, Winona, MN. Visit, their website, , to view Ruth’s memorial video and share any stories or comments you may have of Ruth.

Written by Dean Korder


I’m Casey Korder son of Ruth Korder and Eugene Korder I am one of five children Ruth Korder had. We are here today mourning the loss but mostly importantly celebrating the life of Ruth Korder. You cannot sum up in five minutes how much she touched us all. I am supposed to keep this simple but mom never did anything simple despite saying she would. Ruth Korder was not a simple human being by any means.

Ruth Korder was a daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt , friend and overall wonderful person. Ruth Korder liked to celebrate life and bring family and friends together. She was the glue in our family the one who held it all together.

I have asked others to describe her or share a story about her … I cannot read them all so I will share a few things of what others have said about Ruth Korder at the end we will take a moment of silence for all to share in their own way.

Incredible is the verb my sister Sherri used to describe mom. She excelled at everything she attempted small and large.

Vivacious is the word My brother Dean used to describe mom he says she was a vivacious woman whose love of life and happiness was spread in part to all who crossed her path. Family and friends were Ruth’s life and inspiration. She was the calendar grandma at Christmas and the homemade birthday card great grandma who always seemed to remember everyone’s special day.

Accepting was how Kristi and Bob described Ruth. They said She would always invite new people into her home that relatives and friends brought for family dinners. Kristi said, “My husband, Bob, and I would attend Easter or Christmas dinner and say…who is that? We tried to get the names down because we knew they would possibly show up again because they were always invited.”

Creative is how Tony Korder described his Grandma. Ruth was always creating things whether it was a scrapbook, afghan, , quilt or any number of projects she had going on. Some say she was an extreme multitasker and always seemed to be working on something.

Unique is how Josh described his grandma he said grandma never adhered to any one style she never let anything influence her she seemed to always blaze her own trail.

Diligent and happy was how Her grandson Buck described her. He said he she was always on top of her game and she was all the way up to the moment her heart gave out. He also said she was always happy and he often thought “Why is she so friggin happy?”

Kindhearted was how Samantha her great granddaughter described her because Ruth would go out of her way to help people.

Knowledgable is what many people said.
She was an avid reader and loved the pursuit of knowledge she was always reading and often had more than one book she was engrossed in.

Business minded was how some people described Ruth despite being retired from Cathedral for many years our mom never truly retired.

Passionate traveler – Ruth spent many summer’s weeks at a time traveling with her daughter, Kristi, and granddaughters Kristal and Haley exploring the United States and Canada. Since retiring she has taken time to travel with her sisters and brother. She truly enjoyed those trips and it was something she always spoke fondly of.

Stubborn – Ruth Korder never gave up even as she lay dying she never gave up and knew that there was still so much more to do. Rosemary her sister told a story the other day about when she was born she wasn’t expected to survive and she was fed from, an eyedropper, kept in box, and set by the stove to keep warm. This was 1937 around the time of the Great Depression and the doctor came around to check up on Bernice my grandma and was amazed little Ruthie was still alive.

Persistent – Our mom was a fighter from beginning to end. She resisted death but knew it was coming however her wit, charm and sarcasm remained intact until the end. The last time I saw her she was telling a doctor that she didn’t understand what she was saying because the lady kept repeating herself five times over and she grew tired of hearing her repeat herself so my mom said in a sarcastic tone, “I don’t know what you’re saying!” The doctor finally figured out that my mom truly knew what she was saying and the doctor said, “My you’re a feisty one”. Yes Ruth Korder the feisty one who even on her death bed never lost a beat she was coherent and had her wits about her until 10 am on August 3rd.

She was a fighter, survivor, and lived her life to the fullest. She was compassionate, caring, stern, and an all-around good person.

Loving wife – is what my dad would say. she was a Loving wife for 59 years she was devoted to our dad Eugene in sickness and in health. My brother Dean said if you wanted to know what true love was, all you had to do was see the two of them interact. She cared for him with a warm heart, a gentle touch, and absolute love, and tucked him into bed every night with a song.

Most importantly she loved people and would do anything for anyone, however, she wasn’t easily swindled. I know each of you have your own relationship with Ruth and I hope she will live on in spirit despite her body giving out. It is hard to believe she has left because she has been such an integral part of each person here. She wouldn’t want us to stop living because she is gone she would want us to live and be happy.

Growing up she often gave advice sometimes in a very nonlinear way but the most important thing she would say to me was, “As long as you’re happy”. For many years I wasn’t happy and she knew that but she never stopped loving me and she would always come back to those words of advice “As long as you’re happy”.. She wouldn’t want any of us to stop being happy I think if she was here she would say don’t take too much time mourning and grieving for me because I want you to keep living and being happy. She would want to be remembered in life.

Ruth Korder had many traditions and hopefully some of those traditions will be kept alive. She put together many photo albums and this is what she said in one of her notebooks in regards to her scrapbooks I want to leave the stories of what we did and where we went for the future generations of my family I want them to know their ancestors. She was archiving for future generations we live in a world of great change but we can make the world a better place to live if we just learn how to live like Ruth Korder did.

Her favorite quote was by James dean which states, “Dream as if you live forever live as if you’ll die today”. I truly believed she had no regrets and didn’t live in the past she made every day count. Ruth Korder did not want to die on August 3rd her projects were not complete but she has left us to work on new projects and have other travels. I truly feel she found her peace and truly believe she wants us to be happy and to continue living life. She wants us to continue to dream as if you live forever and to live as if you’ll die today.

There are some many words to describe Ruth, mom, sister, grandma, friend and more… Please take a moment to share silently your word for her and the reason behind this or any other thoughts you may have for her.

My mom would sing a song to my dad every night after he had his stroke it was her way of saying even though we aren’t sleeping side by side we are never truly apart and that she loved him dearly. I would like to play the song so we can send Ruthie off on her journey.

Before I do that I have few more things to say please if you can stop by the house once in awhile to visit my dad and brother Ruth was worried that if she left first that they would be left alone. Finally My family would like to Thank you all for coming to celebrate the wonderful life of Ruth Korder.


Tablets for our Classroom

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Link  —  Posted: December 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

Blame Game

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

“You can blame it on your teachers. You can blame it on the weather. You can blame it on how your mother and father didn’t stick together.”

Langhorne Slim

   The African proverb says, “It Takes A Village to Raise a Child.” Yet, we often lose sight of this and it perpetuates a growing problem in this country. I am not sure if it is human nature or not, but we tend to become blame throwers when things go wrong or fall apart. This is definitely happening with the education problem in the United States. Lately teachers have been taking the brunt of the blame for the dismal state of education. The big education news has been the release of school data and performance by teachers as a way to correct the issues in education. I don’t think more standardized test are a solution and blaming schools solely is not going to solve the education issues. As an educator I just want the time to help my students grow and be educated without all the red tape associated with it.

     The pressure on teachers and students to pass tests is enormous and truly takes away from the educational experience because we are too worried about the “test” or “data” to truly immerse ourselves in the learning process. We are also inundated in the blame game that we then to lose touch with what it takes to truly be an effective educator for the benefit and well being of all our students. 

     I continually battle within my own self whether to just wave the white flag and give up because the politics of teaching interferes with the actual teaching and educational experience of my students. I truly belief we are doing a disservice to our future generations and something radical needs to occur in order to truly fix an education problem which is spiraling out of control. 

This article in the New York Times is an excellent example of how we should end the blame game in education and really focuses on the students. Furthermore, this blog on Standardized test elaborates on how these test hinder the educational experience for students. It is time to end the blame game and start educating and helping our students become the best citizens they can be. We can no longer turn our back on the future. We owe it to the children to do our part and stop being a blame thrower

We should reflect and really look inward, We need to start focusing on the children of today and the adults of tomorrow before it’s too late. It is time for adults to stop arguing and join together as educators in order to help all students succeed. It truly takes a village. 

Where is Education headed?

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all the “bells and whistles” the district throws at teachers. In the past year we have faced the Common Core Standards, Curriculum Engine, INFORM data collection, the growth model, and now the new accountability rating system, which seems like the Hotel.coms rating system.  Using the growth model for individual students based on yearly growth seems like an excellent idea and I like the idea of tracking yearly growth of individual students rather then treating all students the same; however, we also need to move away from our archaic ways of teaching and to adapt to the 21st century in order to achieve success for all students. I know I sound rather redundant, but what I am trying to do is grow as an educator and give my students the best education possibly. I have extremely high expectations for my students; therefore, I must maintain high expectations for myself in order to continue to grow as an educator.

I recently read an article/blog written by Cool Cat Teacher  The article was published in The Atlantic and was titled as “Reengaging A Lost Generation Students today are bored. To inspire them, we must think beyond textbooks and wastebasket work.”  She points out there are 8 ways to inspire and educate our students in the 21st century.  Educators need to think out of the box and focus on the students needs beyond what we think. We must truly try and look at life from their point of view in order to truly make a difference.

From this article/blog it lead me to  Zunal WebQuest Maker which is a free service “Zunal WebQuest Maker is a web-based software for creating WebQuests in a short time without writing any HTML codes.” I found this site simple, easy to use, and an engaging way to get students immersed in the educating process by building web quests. I am always on the look out for ways to get my students engaged in the learning process.

I just hope that we continue to move ahead in education in order to truly help all students learn. We can no longer afford to take the “cookie cutter” approach to education in this country we must find a way to make sure our students needs are being met and that we get through the “growing pains” of education reform in the USA. We must continue to build an education program that is headed in the right direction in order to continue to compete on a global level. I leave you with a couple of other great articles about 21st century education. It is necessary to integrate technology in education and this article will help with resources on where to start.  9 GREAT ARTICLES ABOUT THE 21ST CENTURY EDUCATION.

Lastly Mary Beth Hertz wrote Seven Technology Tips for Younger Elementary students. This article is a great resource for introducing new technology in the classroom I especially like this advice, “If you feel overwhelmed, that’s normal. There is a large learning curve when bringing anything new into your classroom.” (MARY BETH HERTZ) I sometimes feel pessimistic, but with all the positive blogs I have been reading lately I’m starting to feel more optimistic and less alone in the world.

Part of the Problem or Solution ?

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

As I reflect on being an educator I must remember I am dedicated to student success and making sure my students needs are being met in an educational setting. I continually ask the question am I truly helping them in order to be successful not just this year, but in the future?  Am I truly guiding them to be independent thinkers while still instilling the importance of collaboration and teamwork? How I can I help them be prepared for jobs that don’t exist yet and help them use technology to the fullest extent without getting them confused or overwhelmed by it all. I sometimes forget they are only seven or eight years old and that they are very young in the grand scheme of their life. They will have many experiences after the moment I have with them. I have to help them learn by connecting with what they know not what I know at forty-six; therefore I must take a step back and have empathy, compassion, and caring I must try to see through the eyes of an seven/eight year old in the 21st century.

With that being said I have come across many helpful blogs and tech ideas, which may help bridge the gap and help my students be successful. Although I must be mindful of whom they are as individuals and a class I can still help guide them.  I am constantly in search of technology educational tools I can use with my students the blog Flipping Your Classroom With Free Web Tools – Guest Post is an excellent resource for ideas on how to integrate technology in your classroom in order to help students become connected leaner’s. Furthermore, this article on Oregon live regarding using an ipad to help student create a story is an excellent resource for the classroom.

Lastly the blog Audacious Educationist, which originally came from Topical Teaching, has a great blog about how IT can sometime breed lazy teaching and that technology does not necessarily make education better, it all depends on how the tools are being utilized. I appreciate the insight this blog provides and it reiterates the idea that I must continue to have empathy for my students in order continue to grow with them so they can be successful in the 21st century.

I want to be part of the solution and not the problem.

The Problem With IT in the Classroom.

An interesting article on the challenges we face as educators.

‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’ – Knowledge@Wharton.

IT and Education

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

I found this article rather interesting and a quick read.

IT and Education.