Ruth Colleen (Longstreet) DeTurk, 85, of West Lafayette, passed away Wednesday, August 17, 2022, at Cumberland Pointe Health Campus in West Lafayette.
She was born March 6, 1937, in Decatur, IL to the late John Matthew and Ruth Catherine (Capps) Longstreet, the second of four children and only daughter, growing up surrounded by love and all those brothers. In 1953, she met the skinny new kid at Decatur High School, Phillip Eugene “Gene” DeTurk, who would become her best friend and devoted husband of 65 years. They eloped in 1956, much to the dismay of her parents who felt cheated out of a wedding, but all was forgiven the next year with the birth of daughter Tamara Sue, followed soon after by her son Phillip Todd. Colleen completed nurses’ training at the Decatur Macon County School of Nursing and later went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in nursing from Sangamon State University (University of Illinois-Springfield) in 1975, all the while working and raising a family. Strongly believing in the importance of education, she returned to college and was awarded a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Indiana University in 1983. Her passion for nursing led her to a career at Purdue University School of Nursing where she was an Associate and Assistant Professor, Director of Continuing Education, and an instructor. She was also instrumental in starting a “Men in Nursing” project which involved recruitment, starting a support organization, and sending representatives to “Males in Nursing” conferences.
Colleen was a member of the American Nurses Association, Past President of Indiana State Nursing Association (ISNA), ISNA, Council on Professional Nursing Education and Development, ISNA Council on Gerontological Nursing Practice, Sigma Theta Tau International, and Delta Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. She was the Nursing Representative to Purdue’s Multidisciplinary Gerontology Interest Group and the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education as well as the American Public Health Association.
Colleen was vibrant, loving, fierce and fun. Outside of nursing, she loved her family above all else. Devoted to her immediate and extended family, her many friends, and to humanity through public health nursing, Colleen energized any room she entered. While mobile, she was an avid member of her church. She loved to travel with her nursing school posse, shop, sing and dance—especially country line dancing with her brothers. She also enjoyed watching Purdue sports—especially women’s basketball—with no apology to IU or Illini fans–hosting parties for family and friends, and a good argument. She will be cherished and carried in our hearts always.
Along with her husband, Gene, she is survived by her 2 children; Tami (Steve) DeLand-Hansen of MN and Phil (Paula) DeTurk of Lafayette; 4 granddaughters, Lauren (Myke) DeLand of Atlanta, Lindsay DeLand of MN, Kristen Bartlett and Morgan Ubelhor of Lafayette; 1 grandson Dylan Ubelhor of Lafayette; 3 great-grandchildren, Brianna, Brayden, and Blakely Bartlett of Lafayette; 2 brothers, 1 sister-in-law, and her many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, John Matthew and Ruth Catherine Longstreet, a brother, Bill Longstreet; 3 sisters-in-law, Sandra Longstreet, Dolores Longstreet and Sue DeTurk Scott; granddaughter, Karmen DeTurk; grandson, Tony Bartlett; and nephew John Keegan Longstreet.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Colleen’s name may be given to Purdue School of Nursing. Please visit https://www.purdue.edu/hhs/nur/giving/donor_recognition_societies.html
Visitation will be held from 1:00 pm until time of service at 3:00 pm, Saturday, August 27, 2022, at Soller-Baker, Lafayette Chapel, 400 Twyckenham Blvd., Lafayette, IN 47909 with Rev. Joseph Park Jr. officiating.
A graveside service and interment will take place at 1:00 pm in Cerro Gordo, IL on August 28, 2022.