Born July 22, 1922, in Macks Creek, Mo., Ruby Irene Williams crossed two states in a covered wagon when she was 11 years old. It was the Depression and her family was dirt poor. When she was 70, Ruby Williams Cavanaugh Koerper went around the world the first time. She would fulfill her dream of travelling, going around the world twice more with Semester-at-Sea and visiting all seven continents.
As a child, she once needed to borrow shoes from another little girl to go up on stage to recite a poem. Out of high school and working as a bookkeeper for Ohio Power, Upper Sandusky, she became quite the stylish dresser. When she went up on stage as a Semester-at-Sea commencement speaker, on one of her round-the-world voyages, she was sharing that stage with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Saturday's child must work for a living and she did: bookkeeper, babysitter, head cook at the high school cafeteria, and secretary at Seneca County (Ohio) Soil Conservation Service. For 10 years, she was the owner, manager, chief cook and bottle washer of Palo Alto Vacation Farm, Tiffin, a business that allowed her to be at home with her three children. At age 62, she graduated from Tiffin University which led to a 25-year career as a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Hohman Wingart Realtors.
Ruby's mother was a writer and she learned that tradition/discipline/love from her. She kept a journal, wrote a memoir, 10 children's books and hundreds of articles. Her letter home describing her trip down the Amazon and swinging from a vine was a true treasure for those lucky enough to be on her mailing list.
She believed in hard work, women's rights and in a loving God who isn't too picky about how He is worshipped. Her God was big enough for all the children of the world.
Until early December her mind was sharp. When she died Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in Columbus, two husbands, Stanley Ward (Bud) Cavanaugh and Eugene Koerper, and grandson, Gregory Ward Cavanaugh had predeceased her. She is survived by two sons, Stephen (Sharon) Cavanaugh of Noblesville, Ind., and Scott William (Linda) Cavanaugh of Mansfield, Mo.; a daughter, Sue Cavanaugh of Columbus; two granddaughters; seven great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She didn't care for the songs that were written about "Ruby," but was quite pleased that it's making a comeback as a name for baby girls.
A celebration of Ruby's life will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, at Westminster-Thurber Retirement Community, 717 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43215.
Memorial gifts may be made to Ohio Presbyterian Retirement Services, 1001 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229 or Semester at Sea Voyager Fund, P.O. Box 400885, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4885.
Arrangements completed by Weir-Arend Funeral Home, 4221 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43214, (614) 268-3593.
Please visit www.weirarendfuneralhome.com to sign the official online condolence book.