Ruth A. Payne, 99 years 10 months, of Sheboygan Falls, passed away on Friday, December 11, 2015, at Anita’s Gardens Assisted Living in Plymouth.

Ruth was born on February 25, 1916, in the Town of Mitchell, the 3rd of 4 children of George and Anna (Bilgo) Steinke, and grew up in Cascade. In 1933 she graduated from Waldo High School, where she was captain of the girls’ basketball team. On June 19, 1937, she married Forrest G. Payne in Cascade. After 54 years of a solid marriage, Forrest died December 22, 1991. Ruth’s 3 siblings died before her: Alice (Art) Vanderkin, Lucille (Roger) Mueller, and Adrian (Mae) Steinke.

Ruth leaves behind her 3 children: Neil (Jan) Payne of Plover, WI, Glenn (Peggy) Payne of Texas, and Ginny Harris of Oregon; 7 grandchildren: Adam (Kris) Payne, Mark (Krysta Van Dyke) Payne, Erin (Ron) Ruppenthal, Matt (Ginnesa) Payne, June (Scott) Holmes, Scott (Heather) Harris, and Glenn (Darcy) Harris; 3 step grandchildren: Patty (Michael) Campagna, Shari (Brian) Murphy, and Gail Lyman; 17 great-grandchildren; and 5 step great-grandchildren.

Ruth’s father George Steinke owned the Steinke Tavern in Cascade and the first bowling alley in Wisconsin. During Prohibition (1920-1933), as a young girl Ruth helped him hide his moonshine under the lilac bushes in back. At times he got caught and went to the county jail. Ruth’s grandson Adam Payne is the Sheboygan County Administrator, and thus in charge of that county jail where his great-grandfather was jailed when they didn’t get the stuff hidden under the lilac bushes fast enough. George died when Ruth was 14.

Ruth was a homemaker and also worked at Bemis in Sheboygan Falls and Enzo Jel in Sheboygan. She was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls. An avid reader, she read over 1000 books from the Sheboygan Falls Library. She also enjoyed dancing, fishing, cribbage, crossword puzzles, and especially her family.

At almost 100 years old, Ruth holds the record as the oldest member of her family tree. She lived graciously with humor and acceptance of what life might bring, and leaves her children and grandchildren love and a good sense of humor.

To celebrate her long life, funeral services will be held December 16, 2015 at the Wenig Funeral Home in Sheboygan Falls with Rev. Mark Janzen officiating. Visitation will begin at 1 pm and the service at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the Hospice Angel Fund in Ruth’s name.

For online condolences and additional information please visit

The staff of the Wenig Funeral Home of Sheboygan Falls (920-467-3431) is assisting Ruth’s family with arrangements.

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