Lt. Gov. Ruth Meiers Laid To Rest Near Her Farm
ROSS, N.D. (AP) _ Lt. Gov. Ruth Meiers was buried Monday at a snowy hilltop cemetery that overlooks the wheat and barley farm she left to become North Dakota’s most prominent stateswoman.
Mrs. Meiers, a former social worker who become the state’s first woman lieutenant governor, died Thursday night after a six-month battle with cancer. She was 61.
About 250 people, mostly family and friends, packed the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ross on Monday afternoon. About 100 mourners watched the services on closed-circuit television in the basement of the white clapboard church.
″We know Ruth was about (the) business of being a servant,″ said the Rev. Clyde Seifert of Fairview, Mont., a former pastor of the church.
Mrs. Meiers was buried at the Rosehill Cemetery just outside Ross, a community of 104 people in northwestern North Dakota, and a half-mile west of her small, brick farm home.
The Parshall native reared four sons on the farm and later, while serving as lieutenant governor, returned there on weekends. Her four sons and a foster son served a pallbearers.
After a brief service at the cemetery, Gov. George Sinner presented Mrs. Meiers’ North Dakota flag to her husband, Glenn, and embraced him.
Sinner delivered the eulogy at a public memorial service in Bismarck on Saturday, saying Mrs. Meiers ″took the role women to new heights.″ He did not speak at the funeral Monday.
Three pews were reserved at the back of the small church for Sinner and the other state officials who attended the funeral.
Mrs. Meiers’ body lay in state in the Great Hall of the Capitol for four hours before Saturday’s public service. She is believed to have been the first person to lie in state there since the death of Sen. William Langer in 1959.
Mrs. Meiers served 10 years in the state House of Representatives before she was drafted at the 1984 Democratic-NPL Party convention to run for lieutenant governor.
Her intense campaigning was credited with helping her and Sinner defeat then-Gov. Allen Olson and Lt. Gov. Ernest Sands.