Emily

Emily has had an amazing life of travel and has seen many things along her way. In her younger years, she and her husband decided they would travel to two countries every year. Because of this, she has traveled to every country in the world! She believes that the secret to living to her age (97) is to “participate in everything” therefore, she is an ambassador at the community where she lives and an encourager to everyone to get involved.

One of the collectibles from Emily’s travel collection
Emily asked me to take a photo of this grouping of collectibles hanging on her wall. She said, “Aren’t they just beautiful?” Why yes, Emily, they certainly are!
Emily shared with me that she wasn’t able to take all of her things to the Assisted Living community where she lives; however, she was able to bring her favorites…like this one.

Emily was born in Hawaii; she comes from a family of 6, and she is the youngest. When she was 19 years old, she witnessed a huge tragedy that would affect her and Hawaii for years to come. Her morning on December 7th, 1941, started off like any other day. She woke up and went to have breakfast with some friends who had just arrived in town. As they were eating, they heard some blasts that they brushed off as training at the Air Force Base nearby. The noises got louder and they climbed a mango tree to try and identify where the commotion was coming from. They were too far away and not in the right direction to see Pearl Harbor, but they could see the air attack going on above Hickman AFB. They turned on the radio and they were told, “This is the ‘real McCoy’, the ‘Japs’ are attacking Pearl Harbor; take cover!” They climbed the tree again so they could get another look at what was happening.

Emily describes the scene when they got up there as “Just at this moment we saw a plane nearby headed our direction and soon it was near enough for us to see the sun emblem; as we watched, we saw the Japanese pilot looking down, and it was that moment that he pulled a lever and we saw a bomb falling”. She describes thinking the bomb was going to fall close to where they were in the trees and they quickly scrambled down to get away. Turns out the bomb dropped a few blocks away. The teens ran to the scene and were astonished to find the damage and disarray. “We witnessed a holocaust” as Emily describes it. The town was ablaze and there were bodies everywhere. She recalls seeing that the owners of the local drug store had “perished in the rubble of their store”. There were four waves of attacks, and it lasted about an hour. The radio was all they had to get updates on the state of their homeland.

That night was almost worse, people hid in their homes, afraid that at any moment they would hear a bomb go off. The news was full of falsities and there were stories circulating of the Japanese parachuting to various locations around the island. They weren’t allowed to use phone service during this time and they were all worried about friends and family on the other islands. Finally, on December 9th, two days after the attack they were allowed to make calls (under strict censorship) to tell their loved ones they were okay. They were relieved to hear that no further attacks had been conducted.

Emily went to the University campus to help care for evacuees. There was a shortage of blood so the community came together to give blood. The lumber yards had turned into coffin makers and delivered truck load after truck load to Pearl Harbor. There were mass immunizations happening to guard against typhoid, diphtheria, and smallpox. Their currency was all stamped with “Hawaii” so that if attacked again, their money would be useless.

The Navy lost 1200 men, most of which happened in the first 10 minutes of the attack. The marines lost 109 men, and the army lost 218 men that day. Thousands more were injured. 68 civilians died and more were injured. 18 American ships were sunk or damaged and 200 planes were destroyed.

Hawaii was not the same for a long time there was a curfew of 6:00 pm that was enforced. Everyone who was able worked seven days a week for ten hours per day. People spent their free time with patients in the hospitals. Emily recalls writing letters to victims’ families and was a friend to burn victims who were suffering with pain. The beaches were barb wired and there was an influx of government workers and military personnel in Oahu. Mail was censored for a time as well. Emily’s worst memories were the temporary graves being exhumed and bodies washing up months later in the ocean around Pearl Harbor. On September 2, 1945 the war was over and they witnessed the V-J Day Parade!

Emily’s walker is decked out with the Red, White and Blue!

John

This cowboy aficionado hails from Gilbert, Arizona. His family is Irish, but John was born in May of 1946 in Jasper County, Indiana. You’ll have to look up his boyhood hometown on the map because you probably have not ever heard of it…Rensselaer, Indiana. Trust me; it’s on the map…I looked.

His birth father was an outlaw and John didn’t share the details. However, his stepfather is the person who raised him, and that’s whom he refers to as his “dad.” His mom, Christina, married Ronnie when John was about five, and he was his dad from that time on.

John has two sisters, Bonnie and Linda, and three brothers, David, Kenny and Jimmy. Having a big family isn’t foreign to John; growing up, he was the oldest among 60 grandchildren. Can you imagine those family reunions? What fun!

In 2020, John will have been married to his wife, Pat, for 50 years. They met on a blind date. It was at a country western bar in Indiana where they were set up by a childhood friend. There was dancing involved. She was a “city girl” and he was a “country boy.”

A piece of cowboy memorabilia

When they got married, Pat had three children from her first marriage and they had one child together. Now, all these many years later, they have twelve grandchildren and 9 great grand children. He also has three cats who claim him: Sebastian, Megan and Simone.

Indiana was their home, but Arizona was their “adopted” home after health issues and job opportunities brought them to Phoenix. John worked in the grocery business. Once, when he was working at a Circle K, John was robbed by 10 men. That was the day he decided to pursue another line of work. He actually became a security officer. It was a highly stressful job, but it was an avenue which introduced him to high profile folks such as Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Senator Dennis DeConcini and Senator John McCain. He had a security detail at the Wrigley Mansion where he met Alice Cooper and the band, Nine Inch Nails.

A letter from Senator Dennis DeConcini
A story board John used in roadshows

The work also introduced him to the cowboy scene where he met many famous cowboys, such as his favorite, Gene Autry. He also came to know the son and daughter of another favorite, Roy Rogers. He was in Arizona for about 6 months when he met one of his best friends, Rodd Wolff, a movie stuntman. They became friends for life.

At one time, John owned a salon close to where they lived. They catered to many celebrities. He met Peter Graves, Marie Osmond, and many others. It was during this time that Rodd introduced John to a cowboy festival in Scottsdale. There, he met local celebrities, Wallace and Ladmo, and even ended up appearing on their tv show!

Because John became so connected to celebrities and famous cowboys, a hobby just kind of happened…he became a collector of cowboy memorabilia. Pat had been collecting movie star clippings for clients for years, so collecting was something fun they could do together. At one time, John had over 8,000 items he took to schools, libraries, and roadshows.

So John has many “claims to fame” and he has the scrapbooks to prove it. He was on the front page of the “Grit” newspaper in 1982. He came in third in a guitar contest at the Granada Hotel in Phoenix in 1983. He started the “Arizona Cowboys Club” in 2002 — Buck Taylor from Gunsmoke was a member. He’s written and published a couple books and has one on the way. He also writes and recites poetry…a man of many talents, for sure!

When spending time with John and Pat, you’ll find that you feel like you’ve known them forever. They are easy to talk to and their home has many conversation pieces: scrapbooks, collectibles, photos, etc. You can tell that John enjoys reminiscing about the “old days.”

Books are available by contacting John at jonpatcomley@outlook.com
John and Pat today — almost 50 years of marriage

Evelyn

This Italian sweetheart is 98 years old; she will celebrate her number ninety-nine on September 29th. She is one of nine children, with six sisters and two brothers. She recalls that the home they grew up in had only one bathroom. We can’t imagine how that worked with eight girls in the home! She was born in Midland, Pennsylvania where she was the first of the children to be born in the United States. Her mother and father both spoke Italian, but her father could understand English. He worked in the mills and did odd jobs on the river; her mother was a stay-at-home mom. Evelyn’s dad came to the United States from Italy at the age of 17 and he had big dreams. He wanted a home, big enough for everyone with a large garden. As his family grew, he purchased two pieces of property at the edge of town. They had a fabulous garden where they grew their own lettuce, tomatoes and onions. That home would be the place her parents would live for the rest of their lives.

When Evelyn graduated high school she couldn’t afford to attend the college she wanted. She decided to get a job to make herself some money. She found a grocery store in their town and introduced herself to a clerk. He introduced himself as the owner of the store and gave her a job. Although she had no experience working in a grocery store, she did very well. At one point some Italian business men visited the store and she was able to translate for them. Eventually, she was promoted and worked there for seven years. During this time, She attended a live concert where she met a man. She noticed he kept dancing and talking to the same two women. She later found out they were the wives of the band members. It was a Friday night and she had to work the next day but he came to visit her at the grocery store. They were married in 1945 and had three sons. After having their second son, her husband told her he thought she should quit at the store and stay home with the boys; he even went to the store himself to tell her boss.

When one of her sons was two he was hit by a car and badly injured. They drove him to the hospital in Pittsburgh. He is now 60 years old and bears a scar from the accident.

All of Evelyn’s sons grew up and had their own children; three sets of twins, giving her six grandchildren! When her husband passed away in 2010, Evelyn moved to Texas to be near two of her sons. Her other son still lives in Pittsburgh. She lived with one of her sons in Texas and helped out by doing everyone’s laundry.

When asked the secret to a long life Evelyn replied, “I have no idea.” She still makes her own Italian meatballs and she used to even make her own clothing. She bought herself a car at one point, a blue Chevy. She later decided to purchase a Cadillac instead. Evelyn is one significant senior.

Jan

Born in Olney, Texas in 1937, Jan is an only child. Her biological father worked in the oil fields and was divorced from Jan’s mother early on. Her mom enrolled her in Catholic boarding school in the third grade. The nuns took her in at the Academy of Wichita Falls and she stayed there until she was 13 years old. The school cost $60/month at that time. Her mom later married an Air force pilot and they moved around a lot. She attended four different high schools in four different states. After graduating, she decided to go to a business college in Delaware.

This smartphone-savvy-senior is very outgoing and extremely social. She loves to tell jokes and even told me a couple while we were in the middle of our interview. Jan is extremely generous and often brings food to other folks in the community she lives in who are sick or not able to get out.

Previously, Jan worked as an office manager of an insurance company. One of her good friends was Bernice Moncrief, the founder of Hospice. They traveled on the QE2 together through England, Morocco, and Spain. While on this trip she met her future husband, Jim; he proposed to her on the second night after meeting her. She told him, “We’ll consider this.” Jim worked for the State Department at that time. In order to convince Jan to accept his proposal, at each of the ports he would send her flowers and cables saying, “I love you” and “Marry me.” I guess it worked, because they were married in 1984. His nickname for her was, “Angel Face.” Following the cruise, Jim met up with Jan at La Guardia Airport and asked her to come meet his friends in Washington, DC. They got married three days later. Jan moved all her things from Houston and started working for the State Department as well. She worked there for 16 years. One of her favorite projects was the one where she worked with a team that built the Embassy in Moscow. Unfortunately, Jim passed away in 1991 due to cancer. She buried him in the Arlington National Cemetery alongside her parents.

In 1998, Jan was still in DC working in the antique dealing business. She would buy and sell at antique shows, but she never had a shop. It was here that she met a man named Joe through a dating service. Joe worked for IBM at the time. They decided to move to Texas because her kids were there. She moved to Grand Prairie and bought a house; Joe followed soon after. He was a very loving husband. Every night, Joe would take her hand and say “thank you for everything you did for me today.” Jan refers to him as a sweet, sweet man. Jan decided to retire in 2000 and after two years in Grand Prairie, the couple decided to relocate to Florida to Port St. Lucie. When Joe got sick in 2012 they moved back to Texas to Robson Ranch. In 2013, Joe passed away from Alzheimer’s.

Jan had a dog named Samantha who was her best friend for 13 years. One day, in a vicious dog attack, Samantha was killed. Jan broke her arm and knee trying to save her. After that, Jan decided it was time to move into a senior community.

Outside her apartment, this plate inspires and encourages all who pass by

Despite the tragedies Jan faced: losing two husbands to cancer and one to Alzheimer’s and losing her sweet dog, Samantha, Jan is happy and has a positive attitude. Her advice to others is to “do good and be good and be kind to each other.” She said that she “can’t be ugly to anyone.”

Jan has a daughter in Watauga, a son in Cedar Hill and another daughter near Corsicana. Jan is a true believer of enjoying life and she told me that “If you can do something and indulge yourself, do it. Life is too short to wait. After all, you’re dead a long time.” One of her favorite indulgences is Pappadeaux cheesecake. She also loves their steak and lobster.

Jan stays busy spending time with friends and family. One of the things she loves to do is put together style shows in the community where she lives. Through that, she gets to work with local designers and boutiques which she enjoys. Spending an afternoon with Jan is both inspiring and motivating; she embodies a spirit of fun and adventure and it is a joy to be around her.

Jack & Carolyn

When you meet this smart-phone-savvy senior, you can hardly believe he is going to turn ninety at the end of the month. Accomplished Air Force pilot and author, Jack was born during the Depression. Jack’s dad was a carpenter and his mom worked at home for many years, but retired from Sears in her latter years. Around the time Jack was born, his parents were having a tough time financially and they moved in with his maternal grandparents which was on a farm in Edgewood, Texas. He spent five years there. The farm consisted of 400+ acres of corn, cotton, and sugar cane; it even had a sugar cane mill. There were two families from the Civil War who were living on the farm, each on one acre. Jack’s grandfather had given them the land and he would go to the store once a week for them on Saturday. Everyone on the farm had to pitch in; they would kill and clean the chickens by hand, even the children were involved. Every day, they would eat fried chicken, which they considered a “staple” and they always had some left over. The adults (parents and field hands) ate first and kids ate second. Usually, by the time the kids were able to eat, everything had been consumed except for the chicken. Jack still enjoys fried chicken to this day. He thinks the best is Church’s Fried Chicken because of its seasoning. At 62, Jack’s dad died in his sleep. His mom lived to be 83. His paternal grandfather lived to be 85.

Jack moved to the Dallas area at age 6. In 1946, he graduated from Hillcrest High in Vickery, TX. He decided to go to Texas Tech for college, and at that time tuition was only $25 per semester. Jack attended Texas Tech for 3 years and was a “starving” student. Later, he moved to Oklahoma State University and traveled 75 miles, 3 days a week to finish his business degree.

While Jack was in college, he met a beautiful sixteen-year-old named Carolyn. Jack was actually working for her dad at the time who was a district manager for a company that sold stainless steel cookware. They would have dinner parties for potential customers in order to sell the cookware. One night, he was cleaning up after a party, and in walks Carolyn. He said to her, “Where have you been all my life?” That line was the winner as they were later engaged and then married.

In 1950, Jack was about to be drafted into the military. Instead, he entered the Air Force as an enlisted man where he attended pilot training school for one year. When he finished, he came out as a Second Lieutenant with his pilot’s wings. He spent twenty-one years in the Air Force where he flew a total of 100 combat missions. In Korea, he was promoted to Lieutenant.

Jack was engaged to Carolyn during the war, but he didn’t make the first wedding date due to his deployment. They did finally “tie the knot” on August 22, 1953. The couple lived in Yuma, Arizona and from there went to France and Spain. Jack was a test pilot for a Spanish aircraft company that inspected and repaired aircraft for the Air Force. When Jack returned from Spain, he was an instructor pilot where he taught college graduates how to fly airplanes in the military.

Of course there are gorgeous children in this story. Jeff and Suzanne were both born in Yuma. Son, David, was born in Texas. Suzanne is actually the one credited for her dad writing his book as she had asked him to write down some of his stories. They also have two “adopted” children who belonged to a close relative. Their dad was an Air Force pilot who died in Viet Nam when they were ages two and four.

Suzanne, Carolyn and Jack

1956 was a great year and a tough year for Jack. D uring the same week, his son was born, he made Captain, and his dad died. He had to fly his own plane to Dallas for the funeral. I can’t even imagine what that flight was like, thinking about his wife at home with the new baby and then what was in store for him in Dallas as they laid his father to rest.

At age 42, in 1971, Jack decided to retire from the military. He had several “post military” jobs, including working for some high school friends at a leasing company. He did that for about five years. He also worked for a recruiting company who hired agricultural chemical salesmen. Later, he got back into leasing, and recruited big money customers for Mellon Bank. He helped broker 57 Burger King deals, a 707 airplane for Caroline Hunt and a $30 million stack of papers which were related to contracts for a security monitoring system. That was the biggest deal he ever brokered. He wrote a book titled, “Life on a Short Fuse” which was about a dramatic cover-up during the Vietnam War. He and his wife, Carolyn, traveled to Lions and Rotary Clubs to share their story. In fact, he would speak to anyone who would let him share about his book and his military career.



From the back cover: “The dramatic cover-up from the Vietnam War has waited more than forty years to be revealed. At least twelve US Air Force fighter planes and more than twenty highly trained pilots were blown out of the sky in the Vietnam theater by US made bombs with malfunctioning “short” fuses. Everybody knew about it, from the other fighter pilots to the Vietnam generals and higher military echelon, and surely all the way to President Lyndon B. Johnson… …Life on a Short Fuse names names, calls a spade a spade, and provides unvarnished answers to hard questions about this military travesty. ‘You can call it ‘friendly fire’ or a ‘cover-up’ but its real name is ‘hiding the truth.’ And after forty years of silence, ‘I’m through doing that’ says Drain.”

Eventually, Jack became a volunteer chaplain at an osteopathic hospital in Fort Worth. He has officiated over 50 weddings (his favorite) and 12 funerals (not his favorite). When asked about the most wild wedding he officiated, he was quick to share the story of a wedding on Lake Grapevine that was delayed by two hours because the flowers hadn’t yet arrived. Meanwhile, there was an “open bar.” By the time the ceremony took place, the entire wedding party was inebriated. The bride’s father paid Jack twice because he was so grateful to have it over with.

Carolyn had a long and successful career as well. She was a dental hygienist for 30+ years, mostly working with periodontists.

Since the couple has been married over 65 years, I felt it fitting to ask their best marriage advice. Here is what Jack shared:

  • “Don’t ever hit each other” (they expected that from their children as well)
  • “You are responsible for each other and you want the best for each other; always have that in mind”
  • “Being faith-based is important; know the scriptures. God knows how marriage ought to be”
  • “Give your children a faith-based start to life”

Carolyn and Jack’s children graduated from Bell High School and in total they have 13 grandkids and 8 great grandkids with one on the way. Their oldest grandchild was married in his “Papa & Mimi’s” house, in front of their fireplace.

Jack’s favorite color is blue and his favorite song is “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. His favorite thing about the USA is that as a nation, America is the world’s greatest role model, even with its faults; he loves the diversity America offers. Jack has a great sense of humor and he told me that he prayed to God for wisdom and he got it. However, now, nobody wants it. If you get a chance, read his book. It is truly a gripping read.

Marian & Elmo

Elmo was born in Abilene, Texas. Elmo and Marian met when they attended Abilene High School together. Marian enjoyed school and loved English class. Upon graduation, they both decided to go to McMurry University in Abilene. They got married during Elmo’s senior year of college. In high school, Elmo was on Abilene High School’s “team of the century” and played the position of “center.” Because of that, he received a full football scholarship to McMurry under Coach Grant Teaff.

Elmo and Marian had three beautiful children and they were all born in Abilene. Marian had a variety of jobs over the years — West Texas Rehabilitation Center, credit businesses, and she was a journalist for a literary club. Elmo owned his own business, so all of their work, along with taking care of the three children, kept them very busy. Elmo didn’t have much time for hobbies, but thankfully he really enjoyed his work. He and Marian were able to travel to many wonderful places for business. Marian says they are “traveled out” now. Marian enjoyed playing tennis which she played for 35 years.

In 1974, the family relocated to Plano because Elmo received a great job opportunity and they were thrilled about that. They were equally as excited about the schools in Plano and the education that would be provided for their kids. They joined Custer Road United Methodist Church which was really growing at that time.

In 1998, the couple bought a lake cabin and they eventually renovated and built it into a house their large family could enjoy. Eventually, their son Trey expressed that he would like to purchase the lake house from them. Marian decided that it was time the couple moved closer to their doctors and their children in Plano. People have expressed to them that living on the lake would be hard to leave but Marian assured them that they have both felt so much peace and accomplishment with the move.

Marian and Elmo watched as many of their friends struggled with traveling back and forth to ailing parents (including Marian’s). They realized they did not want that for their own children. The couple realized they needed help from their children but, why not make it as easy as possible?

They were able to find a senior living community that really felt like home. They say that they’re so busy enjoying all the activities and amenities that it’s hard for their children to find them! Their decision did take their son Trey by surprise; he didn’t know his parents were thinking about making a move back to Plano. In Marian’s words, “What makes their kids happy makes them happy.”

The happy family

When Marian was asked who had influenced her life the most, her response was,”My husband of 60 years, Elmo.” She also mentioned that she doesn’t believe in a perfect marriage, but knows it takes two people to be committed to the marriage. The happiest moment of Marian’s life was when her three children were born, and then her grandchildren, and great grandson. She feels very proud about her children’s passion for education.

Marian feels like the most important lesson in life is patience. She admits she’s still working on that. Her favorite thing to do is get together with family and she enjoys playing Bridge. The world event with the biggest impact on her was 9/11. Marian wants to be remembered as a good mom and wife, and from what we have seen, that won’t be hard, she has excelled at both!

Marian also loves dogs
She’s got the best smile

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