Ruth Guzman | Death notice |

LA CROSSE – Our sister-in-law / mother / aunt / cousin, Ruth Lynne Guzman, lost her courageous battle with cancer on December 23, 2021. Ruth was born in her family home in La Crosse, WI on September 20, 1938, her first cradle being a chest of drawers in his parents’ bedroom. Despite her acute asthma, she was a cheerful and spirited child, a voracious reader who loved dramatic theater. This loving home was shared with her parents, Vernon and Elvina Swancutt, her brother Brian and her sisters Karen and Susan. The family loved to visit loved ones at the Ettrick, Wisconsin farm.

During her high school years, Ruth worked as a nurse’s aide at Grandview Hospital. So began her long-standing interest in medicine – an interest that developed further as she spent most of her professional life in hospitals.

Ruth graduated from Central High School in 1957 and began attending La Crosse State Teachers College, where she met her first husband Eduardo. He was originally from Colombia, South America, United States to learn English. Their marriage produced three children: Elizabeth and twins Anthony and Deborah. With the twins only three months old, Eduardo and Ruth moved to Barranquilla, Colombia. This move was a real testament to her adventurous nature, in a foreign country whose language she did not know. Here Ruth worked as an English teacher at Colegio Parrish and learned to speak Spanish fluently, developing a keen interest in foreign languages.

Ruth and Eduardo returned to the United States in 1969 and raised their three children in La Crosse. Ruth received a Bachelor of Arts in French and Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 1971. She worked at UW-L to teach French and Spanish and conduct the foreign language laboratory in the main hall. Ruth proudly told how, during a French study trip to France, she danced on the tables of the Moulin-Rouge!

In 1981, Ruth and Eduardo separated and Ruth moved to Washington DC. There she held various positions at the George Washington University Hospital, then as a Department Supervisor for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit at DC General Hospital.

In DC, Ruth married Servilio Valdez. She and Servilio returned to La Crosse in 2008. Here, Ruth began her career as a Spanish medical interpreter at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center. Ruth excelled and loved this job, which was a perfect combination of her love of the language and her interest in medicine.

At La Crosse, Ruth devoted herself to her work as a performer and helped care for her ailing father, Vern, and sister Karen. She also looked after her husband Servilio, who developed a neurological disease to which he succumbed, after several years, in 2020. Shortly after his death, Ruth was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

During her illness, Ruth became a resident of Bethany St. Joseph Care Center in La Crosse. Here, her wit, sense of humor, camaraderie, and love of puns quickly made her one of the most popular residents.

She lost her battle right before her favorite holiday, Christmas. Ruth celebrated with her family the magic of this wonderful season as it was done during the Depression – children wake up to the wonder of a transformed house with sparkling decorations and a beautiful Christmas tree with gifts all around. She also made fun birthdays magical. Ruth loved movies, read poetry and all kinds of literature, and was an expert at crosswords and word games. She had a passion for the wonders of nature: flowers and gardening, a rainbow after the summer rain, the stars in the sky, and above all “feeding the bugs”. She enjoyed walking, cycling and rollerblading until her later years. We send him with his usual affectionate good evening: “Que duermas con los ángeles”.

(May you sleep with the angels. “)

Ruth is survived by her sister Susan Bea (widow of William) Schmidt; Brother Brian Edwin (Kathy) Swancutt; children: Elizabeth (Max Bigelow) Guzman, Anthony Blane Guzman, Deborah Wynne (widow of Mike) Guzman-Stoeffler; grandchildren: Carlye Margaret (Tyler) Hart, Brandon Blane Guzman; nieces and nephews: Derek Wayne (Kim) Kaio, Kam-lin (Dominic) Roswall, Dr Mark Alan (Dr Jessica Ricaldi) Swancutt, Dr Diana Marie (Elaine Allen) Swancutt, Laura Lynn (Paul) Wetzel, and many cousins, great-nieces and grand-nephews.

The family would like to thank the staff at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center and Bethany St. Joseph Care Center, for the exceptional care of our beloved mother / sister / aunt / cousin. She really enjoyed her months at Bethany, and we felt reassured that she was in your safe and loving hands.

The funeral will be at noon on Friday January 7, 2022, at the Faith and Life Chapel of Riverside Transitional Care, 2575 Seventh St. South, La Crosse, followed by lunch and fellowship. Interment after lunch, in the mausoleum of the Catholic cemetery of La Crosse. There will be no visitation until the Friday funeral; however, friends and family are invited to visit from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2022, at Jandt-Fredrickson Funeral Home, Woodruff Chapel, 4239 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse. Online condolences can be offered at

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