ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Denise Josephine Cornelia Ruskus 92 years old , born on December 6, 1927 in Voerendaal Netherlands and passed away peacefully in her sleep on September 5, 2020. We will remember her forever.

Denise was born to Leonard and Agnes Arts. Denise is preceded in death by her husband of 24 years Jack M. Ruskus, son, Leo Ruskus, siblings, Emma and Francois and grandson Nicholas Coppola. She is survived by her daughter, Nellie (Gene) Coppola, son, Dennis (Suzanne) Ruskus. 4 grandchildren, Joe, Krista, Alexa and Ethan. 2 great grandchildren Beckham and Colin

We will only be having a small intimate grave side service in the upcoming weeks at Denise's request. She will be laid to rest at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Florissant, MO with her husband Jack.  

We ask that you share a story or two about how she impacted your life in the "stories" tab of this page. Please check back often to the stories tab as everyone continues to add.

Donations may be sent in her name to PALS (Pets-A-Lone Sanctuary) a no-kill pet shelter
 https://pals-pets.com/donate/
Posted by John McDermott on September 15, 2020
A lot has been said by several people on this site and I really don't have much to add. One thing I will mention is her sense of humor. She would often come up with things that cracked me up. Denise was my downstairs neighbor at Chapter One condos for 10 years. I always enjoyed talking to her and doing what I could to keep her independent as long as possible. She stayed on her own until age 92, which is amazing. She was one of the best neighbors I've ever had and a great friend as well. Paula and I sincerely miss her.
Posted by John Scott on September 14, 2020
I met Leo when I was twelve, he brought me up to his house where I would spend a lot of time. Denise would become a second mother to me, I would even call her Mom. I always felt at home and would love stories she would tell me about the past. I can still hear her with her slight accent tell me to wipe my feet in Dutch. She was a very special person and loved by all. I was so fortunate that she would become part of my life. I know she is in a special place with Leo and his dad. Dennis would always keep me up with how she is doing and what was going on.
Thank you Denise for the memories and the best of friends. I will never forget you.
Posted by Judith Raymer on September 9, 2020
I had the great privilege of meeting Denise about 6 years ago, when I moved into Chapter One with my son Robby. She would sit in the garage by the door looking after her fur baby Nicky. At first we did not have a lot to say, just a hello how are you. Well that was until Robby brought home Dreamer, then Denise just lit up all over. And of course she gave Dreamer a treat, well Dreamer found herself a new best friend. So almost every day Dreamer had to go visit Denise and Nicky. Dreamer was a rather large Dog. Denise would say come in and once we got through the door, Dreamer would head straight to Nicky’s food. I would apologize and she would say Nicky was saving it for Dreamer. So I would bring down dry dog food or treats which Nicky would enjoy. (She called them pebbles) She would tell stories about her life as a child, wife, mother and widow.  We became such good friends and every time I saw her she would say I love you Judy. I love you Dreamer. I miss her very much. She would say Robby Is my boy friend . He would go visit her too. If Dreamer got away, we would always find her at Denise’s. She loved it when Robby would come in and sit on the floor and talk to her and play with Nicky. We all love Denise and miss her. This has been a horrific year for her. Not being able to get visitors. Being alone in the nursing home.   I love you Denise Ruskus always remember that, you have brought me so much joy, give Dreamer my love❤️❤️
Posted by Alexa Ruskus on September 9, 2020
I will always remember the times spent at Grandmas house. Running in her huge backyard, coloring in the living room, looking at all of her novelties and knick-knacks scattered amongst her home. I’ll never forget the time, I was spending the day with Uncle Dennis, Aunt Suzanne, and Cousin Ethan and we payed a visit. I hadn’t seen her in awhile so I was very excited. Upon arrival, Ethan and I walked in and Grandma had fainted. She was alright, just a bit shocked at how big we have gotten since our last visit. I remember every birthday, I would look out for her hand written letters and be excited to write her back to let her know how things were going. As I got older, I’d keep her informed about what I had planned for my life. I remember coming home from deployment, Krista and I went to visit her and her fur-baby. I told her that it may be awhile before I see her next as I was heading back out to Japan for another 2 years but I would have never thought it’d be the last. Grandma will be missed by so many and will absolutely live in our hearts forever! When I got the news, a photo was sent to me shortly after of a butterfly resting on my moms leg. I told her it was Grandma letting her know that Dad is doing good and that they are finally reunited along with the rest of the family. We all love you so much Grandma and hope you are having a heavenly time up above.
Posted by Krista Johnson on September 9, 2020
Growing up, we spent lots of time going over to Grandma's house. I always looked forward to it, because I knew 2 things would be certain: Endless amounts of sweets, cappuccino, and pudding cups (Don't tell mom) and that we would spend all day playing and exploring Grandma's backyard, looking for bunnies and other critters. She always had so many great stories and truly enjoyed spending every bit of time with her family. Some days my cousin Nick would come over, and we'd build hot wheels race tracks, or make an obstacle course out of all her yarn and tie up her entire living room, leaving it looking like a tangled mess. My Grandma didn't mind, she'd do whatever to make us happy and make sure we had a good time! As I got older I knew I could tell her anything-Grandma was the least judgemental person and I knew my secrets were always safe with her! She always made me feel better about whatever it was that was on my mind. My heart was broken to hear she had passed but I am comforted to know she had my Grandpa, Dad, and cousin all waiting for her. She will be deeply missed.
Posted by Beth Huyten on September 8, 2020
We are so heartbroken over the loss of Aunt Denise.

Marty has some fond memories of being "dumped" off at Aunt Denise's house for the whole summer so that mom and dad could have a break. At first he was mad about it because Aunt Denise had no air conditioning and it was HOT. 
Once there he began to have fun and forgot about the heat. Aunt Denise gave them a longer rope. She was not as protective as mom and boy oh boy did they get into mischief. Later Mom and Dad would return the favor by  
letting Dennis stay with them up in Moline for a while. We enjoyed our visits with her and Nicki at her condo. We would bring our little dog Bennie and he got along pretty well with Nicki. Aunt Denise enjoyed having our little Bennie around. 

We will never forget her smile and welcoming arms. These traits followed along in her children. They too would go out of there way to make you feel comfortable and welcomed.
Aunt Denise had a thoughtful soul, a great big heart of love, a gentle and caring spirit, she truly was a blessing from above and we will truly miss her. 

Nellie, Gene, Dennis, and Suzanne
A loss of a Mother is one of the deepest sorrows a heart can know. But her wisdom, and kind and caring ways, will leave a legacy of love that will always be with you .
Our deepest condolences to the whole Family

Marty, Beth and Family
Posted by Nicolaas Huyten on September 8, 2020
Denise was my brother Mike's sister in law and as a family we spend as much time together as we could. After we came to the US, they settled in Florisand, a suburb of St Louis and we were 250 miles north in the Quad Cities and I remember many trips to go visit them, matter of fact after Mike got his first house build, Jack, Denise's husband came and helped Mike build an addition to his house because Jack became a darn good carpenter wile here in the US. Denise always had a wonderful welcome smile when we came to visit.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by John McDermott on September 15, 2020
A lot has been said by several people on this site and I really don't have much to add. One thing I will mention is her sense of humor. She would often come up with things that cracked me up. Denise was my downstairs neighbor at Chapter One condos for 10 years. I always enjoyed talking to her and doing what I could to keep her independent as long as possible. She stayed on her own until age 92, which is amazing. She was one of the best neighbors I've ever had and a great friend as well. Paula and I sincerely miss her.
Posted by John Scott on September 14, 2020
I met Leo when I was twelve, he brought me up to his house where I would spend a lot of time. Denise would become a second mother to me, I would even call her Mom. I always felt at home and would love stories she would tell me about the past. I can still hear her with her slight accent tell me to wipe my feet in Dutch. She was a very special person and loved by all. I was so fortunate that she would become part of my life. I know she is in a special place with Leo and his dad. Dennis would always keep me up with how she is doing and what was going on.
Thank you Denise for the memories and the best of friends. I will never forget you.
Posted by Judith Raymer on September 9, 2020
I had the great privilege of meeting Denise about 6 years ago, when I moved into Chapter One with my son Robby. She would sit in the garage by the door looking after her fur baby Nicky. At first we did not have a lot to say, just a hello how are you. Well that was until Robby brought home Dreamer, then Denise just lit up all over. And of course she gave Dreamer a treat, well Dreamer found herself a new best friend. So almost every day Dreamer had to go visit Denise and Nicky. Dreamer was a rather large Dog. Denise would say come in and once we got through the door, Dreamer would head straight to Nicky’s food. I would apologize and she would say Nicky was saving it for Dreamer. So I would bring down dry dog food or treats which Nicky would enjoy. (She called them pebbles) She would tell stories about her life as a child, wife, mother and widow.  We became such good friends and every time I saw her she would say I love you Judy. I love you Dreamer. I miss her very much. She would say Robby Is my boy friend . He would go visit her too. If Dreamer got away, we would always find her at Denise’s. She loved it when Robby would come in and sit on the floor and talk to her and play with Nicky. We all love Denise and miss her. This has been a horrific year for her. Not being able to get visitors. Being alone in the nursing home.   I love you Denise Ruskus always remember that, you have brought me so much joy, give Dreamer my love❤️❤️
her Life

Denise Josephine Cornelia Ruskus

Denise was born in 1927 and grew up in Holland during World War 2.  She loved to tell her friends and family stories about her childhood and what it was like to grow up on the front lines of the war.  She had two sisters, Emma and Francois who remained close their entire lives.  She married Jacobus (Jack) in 1948.  They had three children, Nellie, Leo and Dennis. Nellie and Leo were born in Holland.   The family immigrated to the US, they arrived on the S.S. Zuiderkruis on New Years Day 1957 with Denise, Jack, Nellie, Leo, Denise’ mom (Agnes Clementina), sister Emma and her husband Mike(Huyten), and their boys John and Bill, Mike’s brothers Nick and Frank, Frank’s wife Anne and son Bill (“The Original 13”).  She loved to tell the story of traveling on the Zuiderkruis, the rough seas and also the good times they had. After the stop in the New York area,  Denise, Jack, Nellie and Leo moved to Florissant, MO where Jack worked as a carpenter.  The rest of the family moved to Moline, IL.  Shortly after moving to the US, her sister Emma had a son, Marty.  This sparked Denise and Jack to have another themselves, Dennis in 1963.  The family stayed very close and made many trips between Florissant and Moline over the years.  During her life, Denise was involved with the church and spent a lot of time working in the nursery taking care of the children there.  She never got her driver license so kept in very good health walking to the church and various places around town.  She loved spending time with and telling stories to her grandchildren (Joe, Nick, Krista, Alexa and Ethan).  She enjoyed many family trips and her time working in her garden, upkeep of the yard, knitting and crocheting.  Denise loved animals, all of them!  She had many dogs over the years and spoiled them all.  She also enjoyed feeding any animal that would come into her yard….rabbits, squirrels, birds,  raccoons…it didn’t matter, they would come to her back door and she would take care of them.  

Her husband Jack passed away in 1972 and Denise showed how strong she was taking care of her family through a difficult time.  As the years went on, she met many more friends and found a great companion, Bill, to spend some time with.  They were members of the Alton Eagles club and had a great time out with friends and they loved to go dancing. As her age advanced she moved to a condo in Weldon Spring with her dog Nicky to be close to Nellie.  She was very proud of her age and the ability to live on her own.  She made many amazing and helpful friends at Chapter One who looked after her.  All the dogs in the complex knew her and waited by her door to get their snacks every day.  She had food delivery people come and many times would stay and visit with her most of the afternoon.  She always enjoyed painting things…anything!  Walls, rocks, trash cans...it didn’t matter.  They all looked better to her with flowers, butterflies or faces on them!  She was a very picky eater.  No cheese, no butter!  She loved to eat ice cream, reeses peanut butter cups, twinkies and nutty bars (“crunchies”). 


2020 has been a unique year with this crazy pandemic, unfortunately it was Covid that was too tough of a battle for her. Denise touched so many lives with her great smile that many she met would continue to come by and visit, write letters and keep in contact whether it was at the hospital, Delmar Gardens, her house in Florissant or her condo at Chapter One. She would do anything for anyone and considered everyone in her life family.


Recent stories
Shared by Ethan Lawson on September 13, 2020
When I first met Denise I felt like she had already known me my whole life. She was very inviting and caring and interested in knowing all about me. She would tell me stories about the pets she had over the years, she remembered all their names and stories about each one. Her dogs were well taken care of and spoiled. It was obvious that she would do anything to help her pets and that she loved them as her family. Her dog Nicky who lived with her in Florissant and at her condo was the perfect companion for her. He would go outside with her and meet the neighbors to socialize with their pets. I could tell the bond that Denise had with him was very special and that she did everything she felt like she could for Nicky. One of the stories that Denise shared with me was about living in Holland when she was very young. She mentioned that during the war soldiers would come to their house and demand that her mom cook a meal for them. She would have to go to their garden to pick vegetables and her mother would prepare the meal. She also said the soldiers would take whatever they wanted and pretty much everything her family had was there's. She mentioned that they never knew when they would hear knocking on their door. Later on in her life she would always keep lots of snacks in the kitchen. She called them goodies and would usually have twinkies and other pastry snacks. Of course not all of the goodies were for her. She kept many goodies for her dog Nicky who definitely got his fair share. The dogs in the neighborhood would stop by daily for their treats and goodies like Dreamer, Marco & Wolfgang. Another story that she shared with me was about the boat they took to get here from Holland. She talked about how excited they were making the journey for a great opportunity. I enjoyed the times she would teach me Dutch words and she always would call Nicky “snootika”. One Christmas I got her a wordsearch puzzle book that was Dutch words that she really liked. Finally, because Denise had a tough time hearing so I would use the thumbs up and thumbs down to answer questions about how she was feeling and doing, she thought that was funny. I’m really glad that I was able to have Denise as a part of my life. I will miss her stories and her love for dogs forever. She was a wonderful grandma and I know that she will be watching over me forever.
Shared by Dennis Ruskus on September 8, 2020
I can't begin to imagine how much I am going to miss my mom.  She will be in my heart forever. She made so many sacrifices for me growing up I can't begin to say.  She made sure to give me the best of everything.  She sent me to good schools and made sure I went to college.  She did love everyone. She loved having people around.  I think she invented the long goodbye...You know it.  Start in the family room, stand up, say bye, follow through the kitchen....still saying bye.....living room....doorway....front porch....finally up to the car.  Then stand and wave until you can't see the tail lights anymore.  Cold winter night, didn't matter....wait to be sure they are really leaving.  She loved people to be there and didn't want them to go.  I still have a hard time today when people leave my house I stand by the door and wave until they are gone.  We always had a big family Sunday dinner. We would play board games.  Aggravation was our favorite one.  We also played a lot of card games.  I remember playing some fierce battles with her at Rack-O.  She would pretty much do anything to entertain me.    All of my friends did love to come over.  She would hang out with us and fit right in.  They would tell me how cool my mom was.  Here is something you may or may not know about her....she could juggle.  I mean really juggle.  She could bounce balls off the wall and stuff.  It was pretty awesome! She really had a lot of great times and made some really great friends. I am very proud of her to live on her own as long as she did.  I tried many times to get her a wheel chair or a scooter to get around on but she would have nothing to do with it.  She walked her entire life to get where she needed to be and she wasn't going to stop now. During her last few years she slowed down but never gave up.  She was a fighter and super strong person.  She worked hard at Delmar Gardens in rehab and was able to get home twice and spend more time at home with her dog Nicky.  (And speaking of Nicky, he is enjoying his new home with Nellie and Gene).  Covid made it difficult for her as she needed to learn some new technology on the fly....FaceTime.....well that was interesting.  She just recently accepted that we could take a picture of her with a phone and now all of a sudden we are live on the screen.  She never really understood the sit still and try to stay on the screen part, we spent a lot of time talking to her forehead or maybe her left ear...or the floor.  I am very grateful that after six months of not being able to visit her, Nellie was able to see her on Thursday and I was able to see her on Friday.  She passed away very peacefully in her sleep early Saturday morning.
Shared by Suzanne Ruskus on September 8, 2020
A little over 15 years ago I married Dennis and became a part of the Ruskus family. Denise immediately made Ethan and I feel part of the family. Our visits on the weekend were filled with her stories of growing up in Holland. She still had that dutch accent and occasionally would throw in a dutch word during conversation. She would always ask about my family back in Kansas City and after my mom passed would ask for updates on how "grandpa George" was doing. We both shared a love for plants and flowers. She was always working in her garden and taking care of her flowers and plants. We also enjoyed doing crafty projects. She was always busy doing something she could never sit for too long before she was rearranging, straightening up, making a meal or feeding the wild animals outside. I remember how she would sit in her chair watching the bunnies, squirrels, birds and occasional chipmunk nibbling on something right out her back door. I will always remember her smile and love for animals and how she really enjoyed conversations about other people's lives. She was one strong lady and will be remembered in my heart forever.