Freddie

So, the first time I met Freddie, I knew she was a force to reckon with. Partly, it was because of the fact that within the first five minutes of knowing her, she had her hula hoop out and was showing it off…asking me to videotape her while doing so. She introduced herself to me as “Rowdy G” or, in other words, “Rowdy Girl.” We hit it off immediately.

Freddie was referred to me as a client in the early days of Ruby Care. She was presenting some behavioral issues in the independent living environment where she was living and the community felt she might need more of an “assisted” living type community where her medications could be regularly monitored. She did have some emotional issues that were making it difficult for her to live independently. However, Freddie was physically healthy and strong and didn’t see herself needing any type of care. In fact, when I met with her the first day, she wanted to show me that she could easily walk up the two flights of stairs to her apartment…WITH ankle weights, no less!

She wanted me to see that she was strong…see the ankle weights!

I chose her as our “Senior of Significance” this week because her impact on me was fierce and still affects me to this day. She changed the way I worked with my clients back then and the way I continue to work with them. Her daughter actually gave me the dress she was wearing that day and sometimes I wear it to remind myself how the client’s whole package matters…the physical, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, occupational, and intellectual. I seek to take all these dimensions into consideration when working with each of my clients and their families because it all matters…the whole package. They all influence each other and are important in selecting the right living environment.

In the early days of my interactions with Freddie, she ended up in a local behavioral health hospital. Her medications were “off” and her caregivers were working to get her back to a place where she could be healthy. I would go see her and she would tell me funny stories of her early days. She loved to laugh and especially loved to make others laugh. I saved all her voicemail recordings because they continue to make me laugh and at times inspire me. Freddie was born in Little Rock Arkansas in March of 1949. She loved her family and her family pets. In fact, her nickname, “Rowdy” was the name of one of her favorite dogs.

She really never went by her given name of “Freddie”. For a long time, her daughter remembers her family calling her by her middle name, “Elizabeth”. By the time I met her, she was calling herself, “Freddie” which had been a nickname of a grandmother.

Freddie is at the bottom left; husband is at the head of the table; both sets of parents are pictured, as well her sister and her husband

Elizabeth/Freddie married young and had two children – a daughter and a son. She had married a boy who lived across the street and she had been friends with his younger sister. She loved her kids with all her heart. She spoke with me about them often and was very proud of them.

Freddie and her kids

As an adult, Freddie worked for General Dynamics as a saw operator. She was extremely good at crafts and had even received a patent for a yarn spooler she invented. That didn’t turn into “big money” for her, but she was quite proud that she had done that.

Freddie was also extremely loving, a devout Christian, and a poet. She read me a couple of poems she had written and they were beautiful.

As is often the case among those with behavioral health issues, many of Freddie’s relationships were fractured. That was true with her relationships with her kids. Early on, she had given me the names and numbers of her kids and asked me to contact them to let them know how she was doing. I was able to keep them up to date as to my interactions with her and what we were planning to do with regard to her living situation.

During this time, Freddie ended up in the hospital in a bad way. I remember visiting her and seeing her on all kinds of equipment that was helping her stay alive. I had reached out to her son and daughter to make sure they knew that her mom’s illness was very serious.

At that time, she had been estranged from her daughter for many years. However, after making that phone call, her daughter was able to go to the hospital and make peace with her mom. That very night, Freddie passed away. With all my heart, I feel she was just waiting to be able to have that moment with her daughter so she could leave this world peacefully, finally escaping the “demons” that were part of her mental illness.

To this day, I continue my friendship with Freddie’s daughter as I believe God truly brought these ladies into my life for a reason. I keep Rowdy G’s photo on my desk as a reminder of the preciousness of life and the importance of my clients and their “whole” package.

Freddie in the white cap, holding her son. Her daughter is on her grandmother’s lap (in Arkansas)
Freddie – age 13 or 14
Freddie – high school
Freddie and her daughter, later years
Freddie and Patty – a selfie

Dave & Betty

Dave and Betty are the epitome of a “power couple”. Not only have they been married for 65 years (these days, a feat on its own), their resumes include employment with the FBI and NASA! These two Seniors of Significance are just that, significant.

Betty was born in Mathiston, Mississippi, to a Baptist family. Her daddy was a farmer and a deacon at their church; her grandfather was a preacher. Growing up, Betty told herself she would “never marry a farmer”. Even then, she had hopes and dreams of moving to the Big City.

Dave was born in Slidell, Louisiana, He grew up in a Catholic family. Dave went to College at Tulane University where he studied to become an Electrical Engineer. Having previously served in the military, Dave decided to take out a GI Loan of $10,000 to buy a house. Little did he know, but that house ended up being the one where he would live with his future bride.

The couple was introduced when Dave’s stepfather, who worked with Betty’s roommate in New Orleans, set them up on a group blind date. They were married 6 months later on January 16, 1954.

After high school, Betty started looking for a job. Her dad knew the assistant of J. Edgar Hoover, who got her a job with the FBI in Washington, DC in 1947. Betty worked there for 8 years doing research for the agents on their cases. Ultimately, she wanted to be closer to “home” and a post was available in Louisiana which was where she met Dave, her love.

A signed photo of J. Edgar Hoover and Betty’s FBI ID hang in their home office today.

In 1957, the couple relocated to Lakeland, Florida for Dave’s job. Those were the early beginnings of Cape Kennedy (later renamed, Cape Canaveral) and Dave was interested in being a part of that. Of course, it was big news in Florida and Dave’s background made him an ideal candidate. Ultimately, Dave would be designing and building their power plants.

Dave’s credentials, allowing All Access to launch pads

In 1959, the couple welcomed their first child, a son who they named Glynn. That same year, Dave applied for a job at the Cape with Pan American World Airways as a Facility Engineer. He got the job as a Range Contractor under NASA and worked on the firing range for shooting missiles, he also designed launch pads. As you can imagine, there was a lot going on the Cape during this time…the Polaris submarines were there and they would test their rockets in the ocean outside of the Cape…an exciting time, indeed. When Pan American lost their contract, Dave started working for Dow Chemical. He managed Launch Pads A & B and all of their facilities. Those launch pads are still used today! When Dow lost their contract, Dave and Betty were given the choice to move to Charlotte or Houston. They chose Houston, where they welcomed three more children, Marcy, Mark, and Steven. Dave began to manage every Dow Chemical facility worldwide. This is the job that introduced him to international travel.

In 2012, the couple decided to move to Keller so they could be closer to their only daughter, and they’ve been there ever since.

When asked the secret to 65 years of marriage Betty replied that she has, “never threatened to leave him”. It could also be the Egg Custard Pie Betty makes for Dave that she won’t make for anyone else. If you happen to stop in for a visit, banana pudding is Betty’s favorite.

The love between these two is precious

Virginia

As today’s “Significant Senior” this icon who hails from Abilene, Texas is a lady of too many “firsts” to mention. We’ve highlighted the ones we feel are most notable:

  • On September 22, 1940, she became Abilene’s first female medical doctor. She opened her practice with a specialty of eye, ears, nose and throat. She had an active practice for 42 years.
  • Virginia, also known as “Sissy” by family members, was the first female Chief of Staff at Hendrick Medical Center.
  • She was the first chairman of the staff at the now-closed St. Ann Hospital.
  • She was the first female president of what is now the Taylor-Jones-Haskell-Callahan County Medical Society.
  • She served among the first group of women deacons at First Baptist Church in Abilene.
Virginia in Helsinki September, 2010

Virginia was born on December 4, 1912, which makes her 106 as of this writing. Over her lifetime she has received countless awards, but some of the most significant are:

  • 1988 Pathfinders Award given by the YWCA and the Abilene Reporter-News
  • 2009 Legacy Award, Abilene Woman’s Club
  • 2011 Virtue Award, Round Table organization at Hardin-Simmons University
  • 2004 Pioneer in Medicine Award awarded by the local medical society

Virginia has always been a big supporter of missions and there is a building named after her and her late husband at Hardin-Simmons University. She served on the inaugural boards of Texas Baptist Missions Foundation and Texas Baptists Committed. At one time she participated in a medical mission to Venezuela.

These days her traveling has slowed down, but she loves spending time with family and friends…her greatest treasures. She has one daughter, two granddaughters (they call her “Gammie”) and several great grandchildren who live near her.

Virginia has always been a voracious reader and will usually have a book to recommend when you visit her. She keeps several copies of her favorites on hand, so she can share the ones she feels are most impactful. If you ask her which one is her absolute favorite, she has a hard time nailing one down. However, here are a few of her other favorites:

  • favorite food: Cheetos
  • favorite color: green and purple
  • favorite hymn: Blessed Assurance

Three generations
Grandson, Sid, enjoys some cookies with his grandmother
Fun with family
Fun with family
Genna, Bronwyn, Virginia and Sundi

Ruby Grace

Ruby Care is excited to launch our new blog entitled, “Seniors of Significance.” We will be sharing stories of seniors who have made an impact on their world. We believe that seniors have a lot of exciting information and history to share, and we want to be a part of that.

We are starting with Ruby Grace because she has definitely impacted our world — she is the namesake, inspiration, motivation for our company, “Ruby Care.” She is also the mother-in-law of Joyce Logan, one of Ruby Care’s founders.

You can visit our website at https://www.rubycaresenior.com/ruby—our-namesake.html to learn some things about Ruby. However, I am going to tell you a few more things about her. Ruby’s favorite color is red — because of her name…but, she does like blue as well. Her best childhood memories are of her family farm in Honey Grove, Texas — picking cotton and getting promoted by her dad to weighing the cotton and carrying water to help.

Her favorite subject in school was Math, which must have been a big part of the reason she grew up to be a Vice President at a bank. She sang in the choir at church and was the church Treasurer for many, many years. Her favorite hymn is “Amazing Grace” which is also a nickname her husband, Jim, gave her. She has a plaque outside her apartment with the words of that song.

Ruby is 97 years young and lives in an independent living community in Plano, Texas.

Getting ready for the Derby

Ruby Care offers a free service for seniors and their families. We help families needing senior living options in the Dallas/Fort Worth area by providing complimentary assistance to find the most appropriate living community. We are locally owned and operated.

www.rubycaresenior.com