CHESTERFIELD, MO – Vesta Mae (Butler) Rundle-Ross, age 90 of Missouri and formerly of Charleston, Illinois went to live with her Lord and Savior and loved ones that passed away before her on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 while at St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Missouri. Her family will celebrate her life at a memorial service at a date and time to be announced later. She will be laid to rest in Roselawn Cemetery in Charleston next to her husband Al.
Vesta’s family has provided two options for charitable gifts in her honor:
(1) The Al and Vesta Rundle Scholarship, Eastern Illinois University. Make checks payable to EIU Foundation and mail to Eastern Illinois University, 600 Lincoln Avenue, Charleston, IL 61920. Write “Al and Vesta Rundle Scholarship” on the memo line. Or https://www.eiu.edu/giving.php. Select “other gifts” and enter Al and Vesta Rundle Scholarship. In Donor Information, select “In Memory of” and Specify Vesta Rundle-Ross.
(2) Contribute to the Museum of Making Music “Fund a Student” located in Carlsbad, CA. Send check payable to Museum of Making Music, 5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, CA 92008. Write “In memory of Vesta Rundle-Ross” on the memo line. Put Attn: Alisa Mize on the envelope. Or to use Credit Card, Call 760-304-5820. (Note: online donations can be made; however, there’s no way to specify memorials).
Vesta was born December 13, 1930 in Omaha, Nebraska to Cecil Truett and Maude Irene (Kinney) Butler. On March 18, 1951 she married Albert Gordon Rundle and they were married 45 years until his death on June 4, 1996. She married Robert Jack Ross on August 29, 2003 and they celebrated 8 years of marriage prior to his death on January 14, 2012. Vesta is survived by a loving and devoted family including a daughter, Janice Rundle Druez (Patrick) of Henderson, Nevada and son, Robert “Bob” Rundle (Tammie) of Ballwin, Missouri; her AFS daughter, Noris Lopez of Panama; five grandchildren, Christa Donald of Ballwin, Michael Druez (Erin) of Altadena, California, Shannon Price of Ballwin, Marc Druez (Jessi) of Santa Clarita, California, and Kelsey Rundle (Scott Montgomery) of Kirkwood, Missouri; 10 great-grandchildren, Julia and Madeleine Donald, Isaiah, Liam and Elijah Price, Nolan, Makenzie, Aspen, Harper and Harlow Druez and an 11th great grandchild to arrive in May 2021. Also surviving is a brother-in-law, Dwight Surface of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, her nephew, Steven Surface of Norman, Oklahoma and a niece, Paula Surface of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her surviving stepfamily includes stepsons, Adrian Ross (Karen) and David Ross (Gil) and their families, and stepdaughter, Diane Ake (Christopher). In addition to her parents and both husbands, Vesta was preceded in death by her sister, Barbara Surface.
Vesta attended public schools in the Oklahoma towns of Enid and Alva and was a 1948 graduate of Alva Public High School. She received several awards including being a winner of the Oklahoma State contest in both typing and shorthand, was editor of the school newspaper and assistant editor of the school yearbook. She attended Northwestern State College in Alva, graduating in 1952 with high honors as a violin and voice music major with teacher certification. In college she was editor of her school newspaper and yearbook. She passed several graduate level courses at Denver University in Colorado. In 1986 she received the Outstanding Alumni Award – Humanitarian from Northwestern.
Vesta used her talents and skills in music instruction for many young people. She served as a music director (K-12) in Forgan and Kremlin, Oklahoma and Westfield, Illinois where she developed and taught a Gifted Student program. She was a sanctioned Suzuki violin teacher with the Suzuki Association of America and International Suzuki Association, and was a Suzuki violin program director and teacher, teaching many students in her Charleston studio. Vesta was a Covered Bridge Girl Scout Field Director and volunteered in church offices with more than one stint as church secretary of First Christian Church and Wesley United Methodist Church in Charleston. She was a published author of two children’s books Jenny the Guard Goose and Snow Calf; and was an artist-in-residence in Calavera Hills Middle School in Carlsbad.
Vesta’s involvement with church, civic and educational organizations at all levels can still be found today in programs that she originated. After returning to Alva (1956-1963), she was president of a women’s club, served on the State Board of Christian Education, held several key positions at First Christian Church including Chairman of the Education Department, was a Sunday School Teacher, deaconess and choir director.
After the move to Charleston (1963-2002), she was active in the League of Women Voters and as a member of First Christian Church served as a board member, board secretary, chairperson of numerous committees, youth sponsor, Sunday School teacher, deaconess, Vacation Bible School director and director of adult and children’s choirs. She also served as a member of the Christian Church Disciples of Christ Illinois-Wisconsin Regional Board. Vesta was a huge supporter of the scouting program and was a volunteer Girl Scout Leader for 12 years. She was the originator of the community’s “Fly the Flag” project, was a day camp director, and organizer of a council-wide trip to Washington D.C. for Senior Girl Scouts. With her leadership and guidance, the Rundle family participated in American Field Service serving as a host family. Vesta held an office in the adult chapter and assisted with the EIU AFS Club. As a volunteer with EIU’s International Student program, she hosted a graduate student for a year, held many gatherings in her home and created a “Loan Closet”. She was a founder of the Charleston Community Day Care Center in 1970 where she served as both a director and teacher. Vesta and husband Al were instrumental in the establishment of the Charleston Community Theatre. The Charleston community also benefited through her many years of service on the board of the Charleston Recreation Department, as a member of the Drama Study Club, and the countless hours she volunteered as a violinist, playing at churches, nursing homes, and with the EIU Symphony Orchestra. Vesta was named Charleston’s “Citizen of the Year” in 1980.
After moving to Carlsbad, California in 2002, Vesta found new ways to use her talents and was active in the community. The Carlsbad Sister Cities Board affectionately called her their “energizer bunny”, as she spearheaded many activities and exchange meetings including planting cherry trees throughout the city, organizing art exchanges, serving as Publicity Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. She was a volunteer coach for the Carlsbad High School’s Advanced Drama Department, an active member of the Carlsbad Chapter of Amnesty International, a supporter of the Carlsbad Oceanside Art League, Oceanside Museum of Art, and Museum of Making Music. She was also an active member of the First Presbyterian Church in Oceanside.
Vesta’s family expresses their gratitude to the entire staff at Westview Assisted Living and Memory Care in Ellisville, Missouri for their devoted care from 2017 until her passing.
Vesta will always be remembered for her exuberant love of life and genuine interest in everyone she met; her love of music; her passion for photography; her love for travel; her appreciation for art, especially the last ten years of her life as she took up painting; the many ways she demonstrated her love and devotion for her family and community; and her commitment to having fun while making the world a better place to live. “WooHoo!”
Vesta’s grandchildren say it best:
Grandson Michael: Take a picture of something beautiful, anything, a flower, a child playing in the yard, print it to be remembered and share it. Talk to a stranger, enjoy a cup of tea, smell the roses, call someone you love, look at the world and find its beauty, these are a few of the millions of things my grandma taught me. I loved her so deeply, she gave the best hugs and knew how to bring out the very best in people. Grandma was like a violin small and exquisite, one of a kind. She could sit back and watch the world, but when she played her music the world would listen to the beauty and the power. She was strong! She was kind! She was determined and most importantly she was my grandma! I will miss her, I will cry for her, but most importantly, I will honor her by passing on her traditions. I love you Grandma!
Granddaughter Kelsey: Vesta Rundle-Ross was a light for so many, and I’m certain she never knew just how bright she shone. She was understated, yet elegant. She was small, but the world knew she was here. There are few people who can make friends, family and strangers alike feel so accepted and so thoroughly loved. I am beyond fortunate to call her Grandma. Be it music, theatre, painting, nature, family, or anything else she pursued, she did so with fervor and eloquence. Our world got to know her for 90 years, and it will continue to do so through the countless lives she touched. Tell a punny joke today! Make a silly face! Send a loved one a note, out of nowhere, just to let them know they’re in your thoughts! Play a song! Make some art! Go for a walk and breathe deeply the fresh air! Notice the changing of the seasons and share it with someone halfway across the globe. Support a student pursuing their passion! Travel when you can! Love! Such was my grandmother’s life, which continues ever after her last breath.
Granddaughter Shannon: I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to say goodbye to my Grandma. I started looking through picture after picture after picture and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have to. The world will continue to be influenced by this amazing woman who touched so many lives through them. Anyone who was fortunate enough to meet and know her has a piece of her in them. It’s the little things that make the biggest impact. It’s asking someone in the grocery store if they need help finding something. It’s asking someone eating alone if they’d like some company so they can share their story and you can give them company. It’s noticing the changing colors in the trees. It’s in viewing each thing in the world around us as amazing and special in its own way. I am blessed to be able to call her family, but she became family to every person she met. This world didn’t lose an amazing woman. It gained an amazing angel. I love you Grandma Great! I am a better woman because you showed me how to be great. I’ll think of you whenever I drink a Dr. Pepper or walk along a beach or notice how beautiful the sky is at sunset. Be at peace and know that through us, you’ll live on.
Grandson Marc: Thank you Grandma for always finding the joy and beauty in life! You always had your wings, now you can fly with the angels! I love you!
Granddaughter Christa: She saw potential in every person she met, and she could find adventure in the most mundane of tasks. She embodied the philosophy that “Life is People” and she spent her life in service to and in celebration of others – an educator, a musician, a storyteller, a Girl Scout, a volunteer, a neighbor, a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, and a friend. Best of all, she was my Gram, and she loved me unconditionally. May we remember what a gift it was to be seen and loved by this magical woman. May her memory inspire us to celebrate the potential in every person and situation we encounter. May we seek to continue her service to others through acts of kindness, volunteerism, and philanthropy. May her memory truly be a blessing.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vesta Mae Rundle-Ross, please visit our floral store.