Ruth Schunk

January 18, 2018

Ruth Schunk died Friday, January 5, 2018 at the age of 94.

Ruth was born Ruth Janet Strouse on April 21,1923 to Glenn and Iva Strouse, joining older brother Ed Strouse. Ruth would grow up to follow in Iva’s footsteps as a second-generation teacher, treasured, like her mother, by generations of students in Clare County.

Ruth married Mark Schunk on May 23, 1943 and they began their lives together with Mark growing his family farm into a 560-acre operation known for its quality cattle and hay and Ruth earning a Master’s Degree in Education from Central Michigan University.

In the early days of her teaching career, Ruth worked in one-room schoolhouses, teaching kindergarten to 8th grade, mastering the challenge of teaching the alphabet to the young ones at the same time as advanced arithmetic to her oldest students. She later taught at Beaverton Rural Schools and then Clare Public Schools for 43 years, serving as a primary school teacher and later curriculum coordinator before retiring in 1986. In her retirement, she often substitute taught at Clare, teaching the grandchildren of students she had had years before.

Generations of students will remember Mrs. Schunk as an exacting and passionate teacher whose high expectations for each student changed their lives for the better. Many of her students will remember the necklace she dubbed her “magic beads” that she claimed allowed her to see everything her young pupils were doing, even, she said, if her back was turned. Safe to say, there was very little misbehaving in Mrs. Schunk’s classrooms!

Ruth and Mark’s son, John Schunk, was born on March 14, 1952, followed by their daughter, Suann (Schunk) Lloyd, on May 1, 1956. John and Suann, and later Mark and Ruth’s grandchildren, Travis Schunk, Ashley (Schunk) Nash and Whitney Lloyd, were truly the couple’s proudest accomplishments of their 74 year marriage.

In their retirement, Ruth and Mark enjoyed traveling to Florida, Aruba and Hawaii, among other spots and were always on the road going somewhere together around Michigan. After Mark’s death last year, Ruth enjoyed the company of her caregivers Pat, Vivian, Tracie, Irene and Jane and visits from her family, especially her nephew Jim Strouse.

Ruth was a deeply engaged, intelligent and curious woman, as equally devoted to following news and current events, as she was to keeping up with the lives of those closest to her. Ruth had an innate sense of style, wearing high heels as an elementary school teacher and never stepping out without the most polished outfit for the occasion.

Ruth is survived by daughter Suann Lloyd, daughter-in-law Robyn Schunk, grandchildren Travis (Erika) Schunk, Ashley (Kyle) Nash and Whitney Lloyd, great-grandchildren McCoy and Axel Schunk and Colby and Luchesse Nash and nephew Jim Strouse. She is preceded in death by her parents Glenn and Iva Strouse, husband Mark Schunk, son John Schunk, son-in-law David Lloyd and brother Ed Strouse and sister-in-law Marion Strouse.

A private burial for immediate family will be held in the spring.  Arrangements were handled by the Clare Chapel of Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home.  On-line guestbook at

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