Mrs. Ruth Lucille Neer

August 23, 1919May 3, 2013

Ruth Lucille Piersol Neer, 93, left her home on earth to go to her home in heaven on Friday, May 3, 2013. This was exactly four years to the day that her husband of 61 years, Don L. Neer, left the earth. She had a one-day bout with pneumonia, and then left very quickly, very easily, and at home, just like she wanted.

Ruth Piersol was born in Vermillion, S.D., on August 23, 1919. She was the third of six children of Mary Nelson Piersol and Roy Piersol. She had great memories of growing up on her father's farm, and went to school in Vermillion, graduating from high school in 1937. Then, she worked for the local telephone company, transferring to Minneapolis during the war. It was there that she met Vivian Neer, who introduced Ruth to her brother Don, a graduate student at the University of Minnesota. Ruth and Don were married Aug. 5, 1948 in St. Cloud, Mn.

Then her real career started creating a home that nourished the lives of many people over the next 65 years. Ruth gave birth to six children, and created homes in St. Cloud, Mn. (1948-1951); Zanesville, Oh. (1951-1953); Tulsa, Ok. (1953-1955); LaGrange, Il. (1955-1970); and Fresno, Ca. (1970-2013). As the children got older, she traveled with Don to many business trade shows, and made many friends throughout the country, particularly in the awards industry. She also participated in many North Fresno Lions events with Don, and made many friends there.

Ruth was known for her healthy advice, caring thoughtfulness, beautiful homes, South Dakota heritage, sunflowers, and the color pink!

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Don; sisters, Dorothy Christiansen, Corinne Callahan, and Arlene Larson; her brother, Ralph; and her parents.

She is survived by her sister, Margie Stengel of Yankton, S.D.; and her children: Michael of Fresno, David of Lemoore, Ca., Nancy Applegate of Fresno, Mark of San Ramon, Ca., Don Lee of Fresno, and Steven of Fresno, Ca. She is also survived by eight grandchildren: Nathan of Walnut Creek, Ca., Katie Rose Neer of Clovis, Ca., Laura Applegate Fickle of Rancho Cordova, Ca., Kari Applegate Bowers of San Luis Obispo, Ca., Matthew Neer of Fresno; Daniel Neer of Portland, Or., Sara Neer of Fresno, and Timothy Neer of Fresno. Gavyn Grimaldo of Clovis is her only great grandchild.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel on Friday, May 17, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. Interment to follow at St. Peter's Cemetery.

Remembrances may be made to Spirit Mound Trust, P.O. Box 603, Vermillion, S.D. 57069


  • Visitation Friday, May 17, 2013
  • Funeral Service Friday, May 17, 2013

Mrs. Ruth Lucille Neer

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May 16, 2013

Dear Nancy & Family,
Your Mother was a neighborhood friend who I met out walking. She was very special.....always happy, loved her family and everyone and everything. I will miss her too. You have my sympathy.

Whitehurst, Sullivan, Burns & Blair Chapel

May 12, 2013

Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.

James Stengle

May 8, 2013

Mike, Dave, Nancy, Mark, Don Lee, & Steve (all my Neer cousins & families),
Just want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Aunt Ruth will be missed by all. -- Jim Stengle

Cheryl Contreras

May 8, 2013

Don... The death of a mother is the first sorrow wept without her. I am so sorry for your loss. May the love of family and friends carry you through your grief.