Obituary: Ruth Elizabeth (Donnell) Pfiester

April 9, 1951 ~ April 25, 2023

Ruth Elizabeth Pfiester, 72, of the Town of Forestville (Sturgeon Bay), WI, died in the comfort of her home Tuesday, April 25, 2023, with family at her side.

She was born April 9, 1951 in Staten Island, NY, the daughter of Lawrence “Larry” Alexander Donnell and Florence “Flo” Julia (Alling) Donnell. Ruth’s family moved to Florida, and she went on to attend Southwest Miami Senior High School. She enlisted to serve her country with the United States Navy, entering into active duty on April 15, 1971. While serving, Ruth met Kenneth Charles Pfiester. She was honorably discharged from active duty with the Navy on January 14, 1974 with the rank of Seaman. Through her military service, Ruth was awarded the National Defense Service Medal. She remained on reserve status until her wedding day with Ken on Easter Sunday (April 14) in 1974. They were married at a church in Eden, NC (near Burlington).

Ruth had some entrepreneurial pursuits such as creating dolls for Circus World, opening a Comic Book store, and operating a flea market booth. She opened and taught in a one-room school house. For the majority of their marriage, Ruth and Ken lived in Orlando, FL and enjoyed the warm weather throughout the year. While living in Florida, Ruth went on to pursue her real estate license, although she never actually practiced real estate as a career. She devoted herself to caring for her family and home. In 2007, Ruth moved to Door County and resided in the Town of Forestville, just outside the City limits of Sturgeon Bay. Ruth loved the natural beauty of Door County and the friendly residents but was “not a fan” of the significant drop in temperature. 

She enjoyed making and collecting dolls. Ruth was also an avid sewer and quilter. In recent years, she authored and published four Christian books for children.

Ruth’s faith brought her comfort throughout life. She was a devout Christ-follower and made every effort to share the Lord with everyone she met. 

She will be deeply missed by her family, whom she loved so much: her husband, Ken, with whom she shared over 49 years of marriage with; three children, John (Jodi) Pfiester, Stephanie Pfiester, and Christine (Adam) Sandberg; five grandsons, Jonah, Micah, Steven, Joshua, and Noah; two sisters, Laurie (Frank) Henry and Amanda (Leighann) Kneip; five siblings-in-law, Cathy Donnell, Debbie Rouse, Theresa Caesar, Linda Caesar, and Susan Ann Hartwig; and other relatives. 

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; brother, William “Billy” Donnell; and other relatives. 

Her life is honored with a memorial service held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at Tanum-Forest Ev. Lutheran Church in Vignes, 6102 County Road OO, Sturgeon Bay, WI, 54235 with Pastor Peter Mannoja officiating. A continued time of fellowship will follow after the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given for her family.

Huehns Funeral Home, Inc. & Door County Crematory LLC in Sturgeon Bay are assisting the Pfiester family. Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Ruth may be shared with her family through her tribute page at