Ruth Pauline Tucker Rice

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Ruth Pauline Tucker Rice, 97, of Woodville, passed away, Saturday, August 24, 2013 at Woodville Health & Rehabilitation Center. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, August 27, 2013 with visitation at 1:00 p.m. and services at 2:00 p.m. at Stringer & Griffin Funeral Home Chapel with burial in Campground Cemetery, all in Woodville, Texas. Officiating will be Rev. Hiriam Jones. Ruth Pauline Tucker Rice began her life in the cold, frosty morning of February 9, 1916 in the area of Shiloh/Campground in Tyler County where her parents, Jason and Cora Young Tucker and several other family members had settled in the 1800's. Ruth grew up on the family truck farm that was operated on the premise that if you needed something, you worked for it. A mess of peas for supper meant that you had plowed a field with a mule and hand plow, planted, worked the field with a hoe to keep it weed and grass free, picked and shelled, and canned the crop in big glass jars in an iron pot over a hot woodstove. This was summer harvest. Where did you get the wood for the hot woodstove? You cut it, split it, loaded it, unloaded it, stacked it, and carried it into the house as needed for the daily meals cooked on the woodstove and for the roaring fire in the wood heater in the winter. You hauled enough daily to keep the wood heater bouncing on the plank floor. One heater per house meant icy backrooms. GIRLS can carry wood as well as boys. The same routines applied for water, rain or shine, for drinking, for washing clothes in the iron washpot over the wood fire out in the yard, for cooking and washing dishes, and for bathing. The water was in the well, so you draw it up, bucket by bucket and learn how many buckets will wash a load of kids' clothes and how not to splash a drop out. GIRLS can carry water as well as boys. You want a glass of cold milk? You either pull up a bucket of glass bottles of milk that you had lowered down into the well or go down to the Spring where you had parked the bottles. A glass bottle broke?? Tough. Where do you get the milk? You catch a cow, milk her out in the yard, strain the milk into crocks, and store what the kids don't drink. You want butter? You churn and churn until butter comes. Survival meant Chores which meant Work. Going to school meant doing chores early, walking across muddy or dry, hot fields, and crossing the creek by walking across a log, even when the creek was flooding. After Ruth graduated from Kirby High School, she married Glendon Rice and they moved to the Midway area where he taught school. Work in the fields now became Work for the school system on a daily basis. She took courses in accounting and became a bookkeeper in the Camden School District. Boy Scout troop activities and church activities were added to her routines. Like her mother, Cora Young Tucker, Ruth made flowers her avocation. Her yard became an oasis of snapdragons, lilies, daisies, hydrangeas, azaleas, iris, and new varieties were added often. She planted a variety of trees, from red dogwood to walnut to maple. During RITA, she lost 29 trees in her yard. Ruth is loved by her children, Scott & Glenda Walker and Randy & Karen Rice, 6 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren, and 3 great great grandchildren. Her caregivers have become Family and she has become Granny to them. From walking a log across a creek to get to school, to seeing Man walk on the moon, has been quite a journey for Ruth Tucker Rice.

Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Aug. 27, 2013
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