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Ruby Margaret Van Cleave

May 26, 1928 — December 23, 2020

Ruby Margaret Van Cleave

Ruby Margaret Van Cleave (Huff) passed away on December 23, 2020 in the loving care of her extended family at Calvin Community. Ruby was born on May 26, 1928 in Adair County on a farm between Greenfield, Fontanelle and Casey, Iowa. She lived a farm life through high school attending Adair County rural schools through eighth grade and graduated from Greenfield High School. She taught at Summerset rural school number 5 for six years.

In 1952, she moved to Des Moines to experience the city life and worked at Bankers Life (now Principal Financial). She married Paul Van Cleave in 1956 who she met through a rural youth social group where they enjoyed many activities including square dancing.

After 1958, Ruby worked from the home in Waukee taking care of her family. She did minor sewing and altering work for friends and family. As a long term member of Waukee Christian Church, Ruby was active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship including many years organizing the creation of rag rugs for the annual church bazaar.

 A generation or more of Waukee Elementary School students remember Ruby as the “playground lady” who kept them in line during recess. For many years she wrangled a crew of her children, friends and relatives to walk beans. Also for about 20 years she picked and bagged apples every fall at Iowa Orchards. 

Ruby was an avid quilter. She loved piecing together designs from her collection of fabric pieces. Over the years she created quilts for her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and others.

Ruby spent the last nine years at Calvin Community retirement home enjoying the many and varied activities including jigsaw puzzles, exercise class, dominos, and ice cream. She made many friends among the residents and staff. She served on the resident council, welcoming committee and was treasurer for the council.

Ruby was preceded in death by her parents, Blanche and Cloyes Huff, and siblings Dean Huff, Dale Huff, Itha Carns, Opal Krohn and her husband Paul.. She is survived by her four children, Larry Van Cleave (Jennifer), Bill Van Cleave (Sue), Jerry Van Cleave and Janet Crownover (Dave). She adored her grandchildren - Kimberly, Micaela, Lindsey, Mariah, Bob, Dave, Kirby, Garrett, Robin and Richard. Her 23 great grandchildren were a source of joy.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the “Employee Christmas Fund” at Calvin Community, 4210 Hickman Road, Des Moines, IA 50310.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, services will be private.  Ruby's service will be live-streamed and available to view starting on Monday, December 28, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. or anytime thereafter at:

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruby Margaret Van Cleave, please visit our flower store.


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