The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 15, 2022

Leah Ruth (Summersett) Ries

Leah Ruth (Summersett) Ries, beloved wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend to many, passed away peacefully on Friday, October 29, 2021, three months short of her 101st birthday.

Leah Ruth Ries

Leah was born January 31, 1921 in York Township, the daughter Clifford W. Summersett and Hazel (Pollock) Summersett, who both preceded her in death. She was a lifelong resident of Van Wert County.

As a little girl, she walked to and from elementary grade school, a little one-room red-brick school house, located on Middle Point-Wezel Road near Middle Point and later graduated from Middle Point High School. Leah married R. Wayne Ries on August 30, 1941, and together they moved into the Venedocia area to begin family farming operations. There she was often called to duty to drive tractor and carry food to the men working in the farm fields. When farm workers were working near the house, Leah would ring the old bell she had salvaged from her one-room school house letting the workers know that lunch and/or dinner was ready. Everyone had to come to the house quickly because she didn’t like serving cold food, and if they delayed they found a hot cook.

Leah took her first factory job in Ohio City at the tomato plant. From there, Leah went to downtown Van Wert to work at the Morris 5 & 10-cent store on Main Street where she worked at the candy bar/counter and later she went to work at the Charles (Charlie) Williman & Sons Grocery. She later went to work for Aeroquip Corporation for the next 13 years until she retired to be with Wayne, who had suffered two heart attacks.

When Wayne went into the ministry in mid-life, Leah as the wife of a United Methodist Church minister was supportive and followed her Christian faith to serve others in their time of need. They attended Kingsley Methodist Church and later moved to Continental, where she lived in the United Methodist parsonage from 1957-1966. Later during her retirement Leah and Wayne would drive to Tucson, Arizona to spend the winter months with many of their other friends whom they had become acquainted with from all over the United States.

Her hobbies were gardening, fishing and travel and in her final years Leah resided at Vancrest Assisted Living in Van Wert, where she met many friends and made new acquaintances. While some days were better than others, she no longer needed to shop for groceries, her meals were prepared for her, she enjoyed having a cleaning service and someone to make her bed each day, plus all the interaction with so many friends and acquaintances. As Leah would say: she felt like a Queen having all those services available at her fingertips and was deeply appreciative of all of the Vancrest staff.

She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Wayne Ries; her beloved son Stephen Ries; brother Warren Summersett and sister Esther Ley. She is survived by her daughters, Connie Knittle (Tom) Jones of Van Wert and Nancy Ries of Van Wert; her son, Robert (Becky Runser) Ries of Van Wert; eight grandchildren and nineteen great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 10-11 a.m. Saturday, November 6, at the Cowan and Son Funeral Home in Van Wert, Ohio. Funeral Services will be follow at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, preferred memorials: Lincolnview Bible Board and Kingsley Methodist Church through the funeral home.

Online condolences may be expressed on the Tribute Wall at

POSTED: 10/29/21 at 3:01 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries