Ruth Cheatwood handles phone calls at her job

Ruth Cheatwood in her office.

Sherry Kughn

Ruth Cheatwood worked at a number of jobs until she was hired as an administrative support assistant at the Wildlife and Fresh Water Fisheries office on Alabama 21 between Jacksonville and Piedmont in 2005. Her supervisor is Capt. Jim Kirkland.

Ruth has a list of duties she performs. One of her favorite is answering the phone because often that puts her in a position to help the caller or put him in touch with someone who can help him.

“I love what I do,” she said. “It’s just different every day. We just have to be sure an officer gets the call and everything is taken care of.”

Many calls involve animals. Some are injured and need rehabilitation. Others are perhaps a property owner calling to report that someone is hunting on his property. Hunting without permission, hunting at night and hunting from the road are violations are some of the calls she handles.

After graduating from Jacksonville High, she was hired as a typist at the Department of Human Resources.

She left 10 years when she was expecting her first child. By then she had been upgraded to a food stamp eligibility employee. She stayed home with her son for awhile before going to her next job, which was a company that built windows. She worked at Anniston Army Depot two years.

Her next job was special to her.

She opened Piedmont Foothills Florist and ran it for six years. During this time, she also catered weddings. She feels fortunate to have acquired a love for flowers from her mother

She sold the shop and went back to work as a fraud investigator with the food stamp program when her husband, Norman Chilton, was diagnosed with lung cancer. They had been married 42 years when he passed away.

They had two children. Their son, Jason, is a safety engineer with Honeywell. He lives in Nances Creek near Ruth. Jason and his wife, Donna, have four children, ages 5, 6, 7 and 8. They are Clark, Brody, Callie and Katie.

Ruth’s daughter, Lindey Chilton, is a dental assistant in the office of Dr. Bruce Cunningham.

Ruth found love again with a man she’d attended grammar school with at White Plains. She and Dennis Cheatwood, had been married a year and a half when he died, probably from complications of a heat stroke.

Ruth plays the organ at Nances Creek Baptist church. Her parents are the late Quinton and Margaret (Rountree) Whiteside. Her hobbies include flowers and woodwork. She likes to decorate cakes.

She enjoyed catering weddings when she owned Piedmont Foothills Florist, but the work was difficult.

Another love she acquired from her mother is cooking. Ruth said her mother was a terrific cook.

Ruth shares five of her favorite recipes, including Mama’s Homemade Biscuits, which she said are “very easy” to make, and Simple Hamburger Casserole, which picky and meat and potato eaters will love.

Contact Margaret at

RECIPES