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Ruth & Leroy Kumbier’s Family

TOP:  Ruth, Leroy and Sharon Kumbier.  Ruth looks so lovely. 

BOTTOM LEFT:  Sharon (age 7) holding her sister, Carol Kumbier (age 10 months). 

BOTTOM RIGHT:  Carol Kumbier at close to the same age as Sharon was on the left photo.

Ruth with her husband Leroy, taken while she was still in good health, before her attack of Guillain-Barre Syndrome.  Ruth and Leroy are both their vibrant, happy selves in this photo.  Leroy is holding a sales award, as he was an excellent salesman.

Ruth had a case of the flu for about a week.  Then, on Tuesday, November 10, 1981 she had to go to St. Luke’s Emergency room in St. Louis, Missouri.  She was in the emergency room there for about 10 months before being transferred to the Missouri State Chest Hospital in Mount Vernon, Missouri.  No one had the proper equipment to care for her outside of the emergency room until she was able to be transferred.  Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves.  Weakness and numbness in your extremities are usually the first symptoms.  These sensations can quickly spread, paralyzing your whole body.  In Ruth’s case, she couldn’t sign her name when the postman came to the door, and by that night couldn’t stand, was having trouble breathing and soon needed emergency help to keep her heart beating.  She was hospitalized and almost completely paralyzed for the rest of her life.  The following photos were taken during that long, five-year, period of her hospital stays.  She still remained vibrant through it all--always smiling for company even though she usually couldn’t talk because of the tubes down her throat.

Leroy faithfully visited Ruth during her five-year hospital stay.  These photos were taken at the Missouri State Chest Hospital during her extended stay there.  This was over 200 miles from where Leroy lived in Bellefontaine Neighbors, a suburb of St. Louis, so he had a long distance to travel.  How both Ruth and Leroy continued to keep up their cheery countenances through those long years of her illness is amazing.  His letters were most touching.  She had a terrible time breathing as time went on but she refused to be put back on machines.  She died on September 17, 1986.  They had a wonderful friend in Father Duffner, the hospital’s priest.  He was with her right before the end and also spoke at her funeral.  He gave a beautiful and inspiring eulogy about her life there.

Ruth & Leroy