Last Thanksgiving Day, Ruth Ragsdale celebrated being 95 years young. I recently sat down with this charming, beautiful, amiable lady. She seemed to radiate love, warmth and even lots of pizzazz. Mrs. Ruth was born in Pawnee and lived in a hollow, across from a railroad track, close to a cool spring where people got fresh water. She and her siblings walked to Springdale School. She smiled as she said, “I think it was eight miles.”
At age 16, she moved to Pinson, and later married Delton Ragsdale, a truck driver. They were married 49 years. They had seven children: Brenda, Carol (deceased 2001), Barbara, Larry, Patsy, Jack and Jeffery (deceased 2000). Her husband, Delton Ragsdale, died on Christmas Day in 1989. Mrs. Ruth is such a wonderful mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. She has always kept her family close and has continued to put Jesus first in her life. She is treasured by all her family and she is so special to Odenville.
Here are some words from Mrs. Ruth
"I was 49 years old when I moved to St. Clair County and stepped into a fantastic job as caretaker for Sportsman Lake. The airport had just purchased our house in East Lake. I had been a teacher’s assistant at a Christian church in East Lake. We had been in our new house four days when I drove past Sportsman Lake. Lois Coleman told me I couldn't fish but that the lake needed a new caretaker. My youngest son, Jeff, persuaded me to take that position. I was caretaker for almost 20 years. I loved every minute. It was a lovely place for families to enjoy the summer, a very family-oriented environment. I was also a substitute teacher in Moody and Odenville. Sometimes, I would help in the lunchrooms.”
In April 2000, Mrs. Ruth’s son, Jeff (age 38), died of brain cancer. He had twin sons named Jeffery and Jeremy. With teary eyes, Mrs. Ruth reminded me that the week before her son, Jeff, died there was a ceremony held naming the OYAA Baseball Field after him. A few months later in September 2000, Jeff’s son, Jeremy (her grandson), died at the age of 16 during the opening kickoff of the SCCHS-Springville football game. One of my columns last year was dedicated to the memory of her grandson, Jeremy Ragsdale. Mrs. Ruth also mentioned that in 2015, her grandson, Jeremy, was inducted into the St. Clair County Sports Hall of Fame. Jeremy’s mother accepted the honor for her son.
Mrs. Ruth continued talking. “I have had numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Many still go to Odenville schools. In November, for my 95th birthday, two of my granddaughters, Amy and Laurie, gave me a homemade quilt with all the names of my children, and their families, which came to a grand total of 143 names. Since November, we have three more names to add to the quilt. It's hard to believe that all these descendants are from me. The quilt has my children's names in dark blue, then each generation is a lighter shade of blue or gray. My great-great-grandchildren's names are in the lightest shade of baby blue. My family also gave me a talking Bible. As for my life now, I enjoy being a member of Odenville Senior Center. We enjoy each other’s company and talk about our lives throughout the years. We play bingo, do crafts and eat brunch. Even now, despite our age, we still discuss our future plans.”