Ruth Evelina Friberg - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

July 11, 1919 - December 17, 2020

Ruth Evelina Holmer Friberg, age 101, of Minneapolis, MN, died at her home early Thursday morning, Dec. 17th, 2020. Plans for a memorial service at Trinity Lutheran of Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis and the burial at the Swedlanda Lutheran parish; Hector, Minnesota have been delayed because of COVID restrictions.

Ruth was born on July 11th, 1919, near Rajahmundry, India; where her parents were Lutheran missionaries. With her brothers, she attended Kodaikanal boarding school until she was 12 years old. Because of the economic depression, her family returned to Pennsylvania in 1932; where Ruth completed High School. She earned a nursing degree from Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and a BS from Augustana College. In 1945 she joined the Augustana Lutheran mission in Tanganika, East Africa, where she served as a nurse at the remote Kiomboi Lutheran hospital. In 1947 she married Rev. H. Daniel Friberg, who had responsibilities with the mission in the Usambara district, about 500 miles away. Ruth practiced her nursing in various different settings, even as six children were added to their family. Dan and Ruth continued their mission service together for another 34 years at various locations in Tanzania. They retired in 1979 and made a new home in south Minneapolis, where they remained active at Trinity Lutheran Church of Minnehaha Falls and maintained contact with their many friends and extended family. After Daniel died in 2005, Ruth continued in her home, where visitors were always welcome. When dementia advanced during the final years, she was kept in her home through the care of her children and family friend, Tim Carlson. The Minnesota Hospice program also provided marvelous assistance.

Beyond primary commitments to her family, nursing and community of faith, Ruth pursued a wide variety of other interests, including: visiting with friends and neighbors, sharing letters, playing piano and listening to music, gardening, baking, bird watching, collecting stamps, reading novels, listening to BBC, watching ‘Jeopardy’, recording her diary, loving her cat, daily devotions and prayer.

Ruth is survived by her sons and daughters: Joe (Carol) Friberg of Minneapolis; Margaret (Charles) Gibson of Blaine, WA, Mary (Fred) Pullen of Campbell River, BC, Canada, Peter (Marilyn) Friberg of Menomonie, WI, Steve (Bethany) Friberg, Kitumbeini, Tanzania; and John (Joy) Friberg, Kathmandu, Nepal. She is survived also by grandchildren: Joshua (Christine) Friberg, Daniel (Katie) Friberg; Deborah (Abe) Friberg; Catherine (Sam) Brown, Jon (Rayna) Gibson, Julianne (James) Williams, Ben (Jessica) Gibson, Sarah Friberg, Nyika Friberg, Zaka (Meagan) Friberg, Shalai Friberg, and Andrew Friberg. Great-grandchildren: Autumn, Eden, Zion and Holden Friberg; Wesley and Vera Friberg; Avery and Brody Gibson; Alexander Williams and Jade Gibson; Judah and Miriam Gray. She is also survived by numerous nephews, nieces, and their families.

Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Daniel Friberg; her parents, Thure and Celia Holmer; and by her brothers, Eric (AnitaRae) Holmer, Edvin (Jenny) Holmer, Paul (Shirley) Holmer and Hilding Holmer.

Ruth’s family are thankful for the prayers and messages from the members of Trinity Lutheran of Minnehaha Falls, colleagues from the mission in Tanzania and many other neighbors and friends.


  1. Jeanelle Mandelkow says:

    Sorry for your families loss. Pastor Pete was there when we loss 1 of my brothers and my Dad.

  2. Andrew Fox says:

    Condolences to the Friberg Family and All Who Loved and Cherished Ruth.
    Until We Meet Again❤️

  3. Dec. 24, 2020

    Dear Friberg Family,

    How we “younger” missionary women loved Ruth and learned many things from her! Until today when I think of Ruth Friberg, I feel happy, ready to work hard, confident in the Lord, and in His love for us, and in His unfailing help. And of course I am waiting to get off to heaven to meet Jesus – and to spend time with dear Ruth, her husband and all those other missionary saints – including Orville Nyblade who died, (I think) on December 16, just a day before Ruth! I still have many questions for Ruth and Dan, and Orv and all those other dear saints, and of course I want to hear their inspiring stories again – and again!

    God is good!

    As soon as I send this condolence message, I’ll send an email to Sila Msuya, grandson of the late hymn writer Sila Msangi so he can tell the Kifula Lutheran Church and family and neighbors in Kifula in the Pare Mountains the news of Ruth Friberg’s death. One of the connections between the the Msangi family and the Friberg family is that when Mrs. Sila (Rebecca) Msangi in Kifula was a widow with 9 children to raise, Dan Friberg brought this dear widow blankets for the cold nights in the Pare Mountains. The blankets were very much needed! One of the little girls those blankets kept warm is Florence Msangi Msuya, my very dear sister-and she’s the mother of Sila Msuya whom I’m texting. Here is another example of the love between the Friberg family and the Msangi family. Once Rebecca Msangi gave me some beautiful pieces of cloth to hand deliver to her friend Ruth Friberg in Minneapolis. What a joy to see Ruth’s face as she received the gifts, and earlier what a joy to see Rebecca’s happiness as she sent the gifts!

    I thank God for the many years He gave Ruth Friberg to be with us here on Earth.

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