Ruth E. Malik

Ruth E. MalikThe Life Brief of Ruth Elaine (Westheim) Malik: Aug. 7, 2014

Ruth Elaine Westheim was born Oct. 28, 1934, on the Westheim farm located just off the northeast side of Long Lake, Minn., to Martha (Jacobson) Westheim and Nicolai Westheim. Father Nicolai Westheim worked as truck farmer, coal shoveler and lineman, and for the Northern Pacific Railroad as a foreman icing fruit cars. Martha raised Ruth on the Long Lake farm with her family of John, Myrtle, Norman and Marie.

The family was fully employed raising chickens, strawberries, corn and a variety of vegetables on their farm and trucking the produce into Willmar, Minn., for sale. The family was raised in the Eagle Lake, Minn., Lutheran Church where Ruth developed her singing voice at a very young age and learned about Christ as her personal savior. One and a half miles down the road was the country school to which she walked in all weather, often bundled against the harsh Minnesota winters.

Then as she grew she attended Willmar High School by taking the schoolbus. Ruth was the first on and last off, so was blessed by being able to sit on top of the heater during her long ride. On graduation from high school, Ruth was hired by Latimer Parson’s Northern States Welding Supplies in support of the office where she did secretarial work of maintaining records of inventory and bookkeeping.

After several years working, she attended the Lutheran Bible Institute for two years where she sang in the choir and in a mixed quartet while getting a Christian education. Upon graduation she went to North Heights Lutheran Church to work with the Rev. Cal Storley as his parish worker. As Cal moved on into the Upper Midwest Regional Youth Office of the ALC in Minneapolis, Ruth later moved there and was a staunch worker, running the office and field teams circulating about the region in support of youth activities.

In 1965 Ruth went to Holden Village, Wash., where a young adult retreat was being held in the ongoing activities of the village. Ruth and John actively enjoyed hiking, athletic activities, saunas, walking the freezing railroad creek, finally crossing paths on the long boat ride to Chelan, Wash., down Lake Chelan on the Lady of the Lake boat. John and Ruth had a long conversation, traded addresses and parted company, one headed to Minneapolis, Minn., and the other to China Lake.

Many letters later they were married in Minnesota by Rev. Cal Storley and settled in China Lake. The years brought two wonderful boys, Ross and Craig, lots of activities in Grace Lutheran Church involving music and worship, and a home which acted as a hub for the many family activities. The family went tent trailering in Washington, Minnesota, California and parts in between with family. There were Boy Scouts for the boys, church activities for the family, and fun for all.

To update her secretarial skills Ruth went to Cerro Coso Community College and got an AA degree. She then accepted a job at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division as a branch office manager working her way to division and department level over 12 years, helping to write the office managers manual along the way. After seeing the boys through college, Ruth retired in 1998 to work for Grace Lutheran Church as the part- time lay ministry director from 1998 to 2013.

She was also instrumental in getting a 5th-wheel trailer to continue cross-country travels in comfort. Expanding her horizons, Ruth, with John in trail, took to the high seas with cruises to Alaska, Hawaii, Europe and the Holy Land. Rev. Cal Storley’s wedding message to John and Ruth was hallmarked by “Welcome to Adventure,” which certainly has been true.

— Submitted by the loved ones of Ruth Malik

Story First Published: 2019-05-03