Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Ruth Dunstan

October 11, 1928 - October 18, 2019
Kalamazoo, MI



Tuesday, October 22, 2019
2:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception with food and drinks will follow in the Life Story Center.

Driving Directions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Kairos Dwelling
2945 Gull Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
(269) 381-3688
Driving Directions
Web Site

American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


We will miss her strength, generosity, and desire to live life with appreciation and a sense of humor. After 91 years of life, Ruth Dunstan created a personal history without any regrets. She was a loving wife, a caring mother, and a cherished grandmother and friend to so many.

Ruth's life began in 1928. The decade was still very much in full swing with the notable title, the Roaring Twenties. Walt Disney introduced the world to Mickey Mouse, as the infamous mouse made his debut into the cartoon world with "Steamboat Willie." We also watched Amelia Earhart become the first solo woman to take flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Thankfully, modern medicine was changed forever with the discovery of Penicillin, which later created the antibiotics of today.

In a world of such amazing discoveries and inventions, Richard and Louise (Mayer) Werner were making strides of their own with the birth of their 3rd precious baby named Ruth. She was born in Dearborn, Michigan, on October 11, 1928. She completed their family being the youngest of 3 girls. Elizabeth and Margaret, her two older sisters, helped to create a childhood full of memories on the east side of the state.

The Werner family wore their German heritage proudly. Her father was the founder of the German Heritage Culture Club in Detroit, where he also owned and operated a tool and die shop. As a child, Ruth spent time at the club and enjoyed trips to Belle Isle. From the beginning, Ruth proved to be an active spirit in life, and she maintained this trait into her adult life throughout. To help ease the expendable energy, she played volleyball and swam.

The years moved along, and Ruth began to establish a life as a young adult. This included the decision to share her life's journey with Peter Lurges. The happy couple headed to Bowling Green, Ohio, where they exchanged vows on January 26, 1948, becoming the new Mr. and Mrs. Lurges.

The newlyweds returned to Dearborn and established new roots in life together. They shared many great times with a large and dear group of friends. The gatherings on their boat docked in the Detroit River were full of hearty conversations and laughter. In time, Ruth and Peter decided to put their feet on the Earth more solidly, the family moved to Hartland, then moved to a farm in Fowlerville.

Together, they celebrated the birth of five children to complete their family. James, Judy, Patricia, Jeffery and Lisa grew up with a mother who worked tirelessly to support her children, helped to create fun memories, and kept the laughter alive in their home. Ruth kept up to make a comfortable home, as she would typically have the floors washed and waxed daily and clothes hanging on the line before the house woke in the mornings.

Life has a free will, however, and even the tidiness Ruth tired to keep could not control the sad fate she was forced to endure. On May 27, 1970, Ruth learned that her husband sustained fatal injuries in a car accident. Despite the hardship this created, Ruth knew she had to hold her head high though her heart was heavy. With five children, and the youngest just about a year old, Ruth held on tight for the future in front of them, worked to keep their lives in order, and stayed active, notwithstanding her grief.

Though she continued to carry the love for Peter close to her heart, she never lost the will to seek goodness in her future. Through beautiful fortune, Ruth met James Dunstan. Together, they set out to sustain a strong love and successful life. They married on June 12, 1971. A little over a year later, their combined family moved to Kalamazoo.

In 1977, Ruth and James co-founded Azon U.S.A., which is an international company that makes aluminum windows for buildings and skyscrapers. Ruth was a vital part of the company; she worked on the finances, payroll, and daily operations. For anyone who knew Ruth well, it is not surprising that she still played an active part in the company until just recently (March), for she never officially retired from her work there.

Though work was always a part of Ruth's life, she never neglected good self-care or personal enjoyment. She loved to shop, relax in the pool, and travel. She explored Europe, Asia, Australia, and many parts of North America. London was her favorite, by far. She and James also enjoyed their Palm Springs home when the dreary Michigan winters prevailed. As the cold temperatures relented, they came home to spend time with loved ones. Ruth cherished any gathering time with her family.

"Age is just a number." This outlook on life became Ruth's way. In living this motto, she never really slowed down. She was the life of the party - always a willing dance partner, the first one to strike up a good chat, and likely would not turn down a quality glass of wine or a Tanqueray and Tonic. Ruth had class too. She always looked beautiful, had her hair done twice a week, and took great care of herself, proving that appearance and vitality go hand in hand. Pedicures and massages helped too! She had strength in all things, which helped her be resilient - overcoming many life ailments.

Aside from embracing life's path, Ruth's legacy will live on in the hearts of her grandchildren. The blessing of 24 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandsons filled Ruth with tremendous joy.

It with deep sadness, we are forced to say goodbye to Ruth. The life she created with her loving husband, James, was one of which she could be proud. Ruth died on Friday, October 18, 2019, at Kairos Dwelling. We will miss her desire to live a full life with a great spirit. Her infectious laughter and the memories we shared are unforgettable.

Members of her family include her husband James; children: Judy Louise Evers, Patricia (Wade) Hetrick, Jeffrey Lurges, Lisa (Rodney) Lodenstein; 24 grandchildren; 39 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great-grandsons; special daughter-in-law Debie Lurges; stepchildren: Patricia Dunstan, Cathy Butler, Nancy Peterson, Beth Akemann, Neil Dunstan and many step-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by a son, James Lurges; her first husband Peter Lurges; 2 sisters: Elizabeth Heidemann and Margaret Voss. Cremation has taken place and a service to celebrate her life will be on Tuesday (October 22) at 2 PM at the Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive; Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. A reception with food and drinks will take place immediately following the service in the Life Story Center. Please visit Ruth's personal web page at www.BetzlerLifeStory.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to Kairos Dwelling or the American Heart Association.