Amy Ione Vangsnes Tuff, 92, of Sandy, OR passed away peacefully on August 10th surrounded by her five children. Born November 19, 1927 on the family farm near Rugby, ND, Amy graduated from Rugby High School in 1945 and entered nurse’s training. She married Harry Airth Tuff of Barton, ND on June 3, 1951. After working as an RN to put him through seminary, she supported him in his ministry as a Lutheran pastor in his first call to Glenfield, ND, typing and mimeographing church bulletins for the two congregations he served. In their eleven years of marriage, they served congregations in Rockford, IL and in Glyndon, MN, where Harry was killed in a tragic car accident October 11,1962, leaving Amy with five children ages 2 to 10. She moved the family to Fargo, ND where they lived for five years. Due to the challenges of North Dakota winters as a single mom, she courageously packed up her household, five kids, a cat and a dog and moved to California in 1967, settling in Salinas where she lived for over 30 years. She also lived in Carmel and Martinez, CA, Vienna, Austria, Colorado Springs, CO, Spokane, WA and finally in Sandy, OR.
Amy worshipped at many Lutheran churches throughout her life. Church activities included choir, Sunday School teacher, committees, and mission and youth work. She also financially supported many Christian mission organizations and several missionaries. She was passionate about the arts, especially music and any in which her children participated. Amy loved playing games such as Scrabble and Rummikub with family and friends. For the last decade of her life, her family referred to her as the “Yahtzee Queen” because she frequently got multiple Yahtzees in a single game.
During Amy’s 43-year nursing career, she worked mainly in labor and delivery, ending her career in the neonatal intensive care nursery at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She traveled to Europe numerous times, and after retirement lived for a time in Vienna, Austria with son, Peter, and family. Retirement also gave her the opportunity to accompany her church’s youth group, for nearly a decade, on annual mission trips to Mexico where she slept in a tent and served as the camp nurse.
Amy loved life, she loved to sing in her beautiful soprano voice, she loved to laugh, she loved to camp. She enjoyed everything to do with food (it was a constant topic of conversation), and she was known as a warm and welcoming hostess to family, friends, and strangers alike. Above all, she loved her Lord and her family.
In 2003, Amy suffered an injury that caused near total blindness. This was a catastrophic blow for a woman focused on serving others for so many decades, and the adjustment to becoming dependent on others was very difficult. However, her faith and inner strength helped her to adapt, and she maintained an amazingly joyous and thankful attitude along with a positive, hopeful outlook until the end.
Amy is survived by her children: Joy (David) Liezen, Paul Tuff, Ruth Tuff (David Carson, deceased), Naomi (Randy) Wilson, Peter (LeAnna) Tuff, as well as grandchildren, great-grandchildren, two sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and many beloved friends. Amy, an extraordinary woman who lived a life of service to others, was deeply loved and admired.
Plans for celebrations of her life are pending and details will be announced at a later date. Her remains will eventually be buried next to her late husband, Harry, in Rugby, ND. Memorial contributions can be made to World Mission Prayer League or the charity of your choice. To leave an online condolence to Amy’s family, and to check for updated service information, please visit our website at www.HennesseyFuneralHomes.com.
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