Ruth Eliza (Ostermiller) Gurnsey

April 16, 1926 ~ May 8, 2019 (age 93)

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Ruth Ostermiller Gurnsey passed away on May 8, 2019. She was born on April 16, 1926 at the family farm in Nampa. She was the youngest child of the Ostermiller – Grasmick family. Her German parents, Henry Ostermiller and Susanna Ramer emigrated together from Beideck, Russia to America in 1906. After arriving at Ellis Island, her future parents went different directions. Several years later her parents met again when both were single parents due to their spouses’ death. They married and more Ostermillers were born. Ruth loved to remark hers was “his, hers, and ours family.” Oh the fun they had!

Ruth attended Lakeview and Nampa High School until her family moved to Fruitland during her sophomore year. She graduated from Fruitland High School in 1944. Ruth met her future husband, Jack Gurnsey, at Fruitland High. They married July 15, 1945, while Jack was on leave from the U.S. Navy. During WWII Ruth contributed to the war effort working at the potato hydration and corn canning factory in Fruitland, selling war bonds, and serving as an interpreter at a German prisoner of war camp nearby.

After Jack was discharged in 1946, they settled in Fruitland, Ontario and Boise. They raised their two daughters, Suzanne and Dianne, during those years.

Ruth had always wanted to teach so at age 39, she started college. She graduated from Portland State University with a Bachelor and Masters degree in education in the early 1970’s. Her prior work experience with Idaho First National Bank, Oregon State Police, Idaho Department of Commerce and the Boise School District, enabled her to become a competent educator. She taught accounting at Madison High School in Portland, then moved back to Boise and taught accounting at Meridian High School until her retirement in 1988.

Ruth’s passion for teaching won her many awards: Meridian School District Teacher of the Year, Idaho Statesman Citizen of the Month, Lifetime membership in the PTA, citations from Idaho Academic Decathlon, and honors from Nampa High’s Class of 1944.

Ruth made many friends at the Nampa Senior Center during retirement. She enjoyed volunteering and helping other Seniors at the Center. For many years, Ruth was the “Joke Lady” with a good laugh and appropriate reading for the folks. She looked forward to her daily Senior Center Time!

Ruth is survived by her daughter Suzanne (Ron) Penny; and four grandchildren, Julie Penny (Todd) Jensen, Scott Penny, Mark Penny, Ryan (Jessica) Penny; her great grandchildren, Ty and Gracie Penny, Kenzie Musick, Paige, Jack and Libby Jensen, and Reagann and Hadley Penny. Ruth’s husband Jack, daughter Dianne, and grandson Andrew preceded her in death. Her parents and all eleven siblings, Henry Grasmick, Bill Grasmick, George Grasmick, Ruben Grasmick, Bill Ostermiller, Lawrence Ostermiller, Helen Ostermiller Hopper, Emma Ostermiller Mason, Violet Ostermiller Sutton, Leo Ostermiller and Leah Ostermiller Scott also preceded her in death.

Ruth was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church in Nampa. She looked forward to her time in Heaven with her Savior Jesus Christ. Her funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at Zion Lutheran Church in Nampa. Arrangements are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel where an online guest book is available at  If you wish to make a donation in Ruth’s memory to the Nampa Senior Center, she would be honored.

To send flowers to Ruth's family, please visit our floral section.


Funeral Service
May 15, 2019

11:00 AM
Zion Lutheran Church
404 Nectarine St
Nampa, Idaho 83686

Interment following funeral service
May 15, 2019

Dry Creek Cemetery

Boise, Idaho

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