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Ruby "Judy" Dawson Ruddell passed from this life to eternal grace on November 4, 2012 after a lengthy illness. She was born on January 22, 1940 in Vass, North Carolina. She was preceded in death by her mother and father, Ruby Marks and Wallace McKay Dawson, and her beloved sister, protector, and confidant, Frances Dawson Basden.

Judy was a woman of great courage and talent. She was a gifted artist with any hand craft, fashioning clothes, crocheting blankets, weaving baskets, and creating countless beautiful keepsakes for those she loved and cherished. She shared her talents with hundreds of people and was always eager and skillfully capable of teaching these crafts to others. After her cancer surgery and radiation treatment, she made hundreds of crocheted hats for babies and adults battling the disease. She had a purposeful, constructive way of combining conversation and crafting, helping others transform worries and troubles in beautiful works of art.

Judy was a founding member of Westview United Methodist Church. She was a faithful member of the body of Christ, holding several church offices, keeping the nursery, teaching children's Sunday school class, and serving as church treasurer for many years. She loved her church family who provided comfort and care to her and her loved ones during the difficult years of her illness. Whatever love Judy shared with her church was returned to the family one hundredfold. Judy retired after 32 years of service to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Pender County.

Judy leaves behind her devoted husband, partner, best friend, and faithful caregiver, Billy Ray Ruddell. She was "the prettiest little freckle faced girl" he had ever seen and has been the love of his life for 56 years. She is also survived by her two children, Jennifer Ruddell Steimel and James Livingston Ruddell, whom she always saw as gifts. Her love for her children was boundless and she never failed to tell them how important they were to her and how much she loved them. Judy had a special love for her favorite son-in-law, Eric Steimel, who could do little wrong in her eyes. She was a doting grandmother to Mary Beth, Hunter, Gabe, David, Chloe, and Lily, who all understood fully that "what happens at Grandma's, stays at Grandma's" and "Don't tell your mama what we did!" Her grandchildren were the joy of her life and she never ceased to express to anyone willing to listen what bright, delightful blessings they are.

Judy shared love with countless in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends. She is best known for her capacity to love, share, and serve as a role model of courage and perseverance for all who knew her. We celebrate her life, and rejoice that she is now whole again and at peace in Heaven. Judy Ruddell was a golden thread woven into the fabric of our existence and we were so blessed that our lives were intertwined.

Funeral service will be at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 11, 2012, at Quinn-McGowen Funeral Home Burgaw Chapel with The Rev. Bill Applewhite officiating. Burial will follow in Burgaw Cemetery.

The family will receive friends 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests memorials be made to one of the following charities: Westview United Methodist Church, C/O Mary Jane Lanier, 5094 NC Hwy 53 West, Burgaw, NC 28425, Methodist Home for Children Foundation, 1041 Washington Street, Raleigh, NC 27609-1259 or Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401-7335.

You may share your memories of Judy and send your condolences to her family at

Quinn McGowen Funeral Home and Cremation Service Center of Burgaw.

Online condolences at

Funeral Home
Quinn Mcgowen Funeral Home
308 W. Fremont St.
Burgaw, NC 28425
(910) 259-2364
Published in the Wilmington Star-News from Nov. 8 to Nov. 9, 2012
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