Ruth Esther Besel

November 27, 1922January 19, 2020

Ruth Esther Besel was born on a farm near Holdrege, Nebraska to S. Rodger and Esther (Swenson) Carlson on November 27, 1922. She was reborn through the sacrament of Holy Baptism on February 16, 1923. They moved to a farm northwest of McCook, Nebraska when she was three months old. Her mother died from a blood clot following the birth of her brother Earl when she was 8. She reaffirmed her Christian faith through the Rite of Confirmation on May 16, 1937 at Augustana Lutheran Church in Holdrege, Nebraska. She graduated from McCook High School at the age of 15 and received her teaching certificate from McCook Junior College at the age of 17. She started teaching in a one room country school. Ruth then taught for five more years in Cambridge and McCook, Nebraska. She also was a dental assistant for 2 years in McCook. While attending summer school at Colorado State College of Education in Greeley to renew her teaching certificate, she met Arthur Besel at a Walther League meeting at Trinity Lutheran Church. He was drafted and sent to Japan near the end of World War II. He returned from Japan in 1946 and they were married on June 29, 1947 at Peace Lutheran Church in McCook. They moved to Windsor, Colorado following the honeymoon. They moved to Ft. Collins in 1958 where they became active members at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Ruth taught Sunday School for many years, served on the Board of Education, helped with the Special Education class, was a lay minister, a coordinator for the prayer chain and part of Mission Guild. As a charter member of the Day Care Association, she also operated a licensed day care facility in her home for 19 years; taking care of 60 children. She also was part of the Swedish Society of Northern Colorado. Ruth died on January 19, 2020 at the Terry Lake Assisted Living Home at the age of 97 years, 1 month and 23 days. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Art, one infant son John Arthur, one daughter Ann Stiegmann, two brothers, John Carlson and Paul Carlson, and one sister, Jean McKim. She is survived by three sons: Rev. Gordon and Shirley Besel of Anna, Texas; Ross and Dana Besel of Pocatello, Idaho; Rev. Keith and Mary Beth Besel of Broomfield, Colorado; by one brother Dr. Earl and Sharon Carlson of Topeka, Kansas; by 8 grandchildren, Angie Besel (Jason Schnieder) of Lafayette, Colorado, Krista Phipps (Jay) of Anna, Texas, Brian Besel (fiancé Rachel Knight) of Firestone, Colorado, Brittnie Glackin (Corey) of Eureka, Missouri, Travis Besel (Lee) of St. Louis, Missouri, Kierstyn Baxter (Drew) of Terrell, Texas, McKayla Besel of St. Louis, Missouri, and Joel Besel of Pocatello, Idaho; by 6 great grandchildren; by a son-in-law Randy and Barb Stiegmann with “bonus granddaughter” Jennifer Bargmann of Ft. Collins, Colorado; and by many nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held for Ruth on Saturday, February 1 at 11 AM at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 305 E. Elizabeth Street in Ft. Collins. It will be preceeded by a time of visitation at 10 AM at the church. The graveside service will be held at 2 PM at Resthaven Memorial Gardens, 8426 S. College Avenue, Ft. Collins. Memorials have been designated to St. John’s Foundation at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 305 E. Elizabeth St., Ft. Collins, CO 80524.


  • Angie Besel
  • Brian Besel
  • Brittnie Glackin
  • Travis Besel
  • Kierstyn Baxter
  • McKayla Besel
  • Joel Besel
  • Krista Phipps, Honorary Pallbearer
  • Jennifer Bargmann, Honorary Pallbearer

  • St. John's Foundation


  • Viewing Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • Funeral Service Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • Reception Saturday, February 1, 2020
  • Graveside Service Saturday, February 1, 2020


Ruth Esther Besel

have a memory or condolence to add?

Pamela Kraus

January 25, 2020

Gordon, Ross, & Keith,

Your mom was one of the greatest! Growing up next door to you guys brings back so many memories of your mom, she always had a gentleness and calm voice. She was always welcoming to all of us growing up on Broadview Place, even if it was just to visit with Ruth and not any of you. I will never forget your mom!

My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this most difficult time!

Pam (Ehrlich) Kraus