RUTH STARKEY, 104
Ruth Starkey Ritter lived 104 beautiful years, 35 of them without her deceased and adored husband, Clovis Ritter, to whom she returned on April 15, 2017. Ruth and Clovis were 14 years old when they met, never had eyes for anyone else, and married seven years later, before Clovis' final year at Texas A&M. Originally from Eutaw, AL and Harlingen, TX, Ruth traveled the world with Clovis in his Army career, living in several U.S. states, Japan, France, and Okinawa before they retired to Satellite Beach, FL. After his death she moved to Melbourne, FL and finally to Gainesville to be near her son Charles Ritter and his wife Bev. They were soon joined by her daughter Mary Ritter Bast, with whom Ruth lived the final 16 years of her life. Christened Ruth Starkey (no middle name) at her birth on October 26, 1912, she was unofficially declared 'Lady Ruth' by her grandmother, and that's the official designation of the camellia her son Charles propagated and named in her honor: the Lady Ruth Ritter camellia.
Ruth was devoted to her husband and family, and her talented recipes, sewing, and needlepoint grace her children's and grandchildren's homes. She loved visiting with and-after she became too frail-hearing about her five grandchildren, their spouses, and five great-grandchildren: Charles' daughter Jeannie, her husband Tim Scott and son Jonathan; his daughter Charsy, her husband J.D. Hunt and children Austin and Ali; and his son Chuck Jr.-all of whom live in Naples, FL; Mary's daughter Katja Amyx and children Corwin and Tycho in Minneapolis, MN; and son Dylan Schwab in Clearwater, FL.
There will be a memorial service for Ruth at the United Church of Gainesville on Saturday, May 27 at 2:00 PM. Later this year her cremated remains will join those of her beloved Clovis at Arlington National Cemetery. Ruth was worried about our threatened earth and said if she could come back in another life she would be an environmentalist with great powers of persuasion. So instead of flowers, please send donations to your favorite organization that supports the environment.
Published in Gainesville Sun from May 12 to May 15, 2017.