Ruth Thone dies at 86; Ricketts praises former Nebraska first lady’s ‘candid spirit’

Former Nebraska first lady Ruth Thone died Thursday at age 86.

Gov. Pete Ricketts praised Thone’s “candid spirit.”

“Susanne and I send our prayers to the Thone family as they grieve the passing of a woman who touched so many lives,” Ricketts said in a press release.

Her husband, former Gov. Charles Thone, died in March at age 94. He served as Nebraska’s governor from 1979 to 1983, was a congressman and stalwart of the Republican Party.

The then Ruth Raymond met her future husband in 1952 when she was editor of the University of Nebraska’s student newspaper and he was working in the Attorney General’s Office. An interview led to a date, and the two were married in 1953.

The couple had three daughters: Ann, Mary and Amy.

In later years, the couple’s political paths diverged sharply, with Ruth Thone taking up more progressive causes. But friends said they continued to love and respect each other and they remained together.