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Tue, Oct. 22

Williams woman celebrates 50 years in area during 90th B-day

Ruby Thompson, a Williams resident since 1952, gathered with friends and family Nov. 2 to reminisce and celebrate 90 years of life. The afternoon tea party was held at First Baptist Church.

Ruby’s son and daughter-in-law, Wayne and Betty Thompson of Tucson, along with Edith Pouquette and niece Bonnie Bartell organized the celebration. The tables were decorated with Ruby’s private collection of handbags, gloves and hats. Also on display was clothing worn throughout the years by Ruby, including a uniform from when she worked as nurses’ aide at the Williams Hospital and formal wear. A lifetime scarf collection, provided by Ruby’s long-time friend Thelma Jackson, was featured.

Ruby was born October 2, 1912, in Sims, Arkansas, the second of five children. Ruby married Cleo Thompson on April 25, 1936. They had two sons, Wayne and Bob.

The Thompson Family moved to Oakland, California in 1941. Ruby worked as an electric welder during World War II while Cleo worked as a crane operator. When the war ended, the family relocated to Williams to start a trucking business. All four Thompsons worked long and tireless days hauling logs.

Ruby and Cleo worked hard to assure their two sons, both graduates of Williams High School, had the opportunity to attend college. Cleo did not live to see his sons achieve success. He was killed in a tragic logging accident in 1959. Subsequently, Ruby worked many years as nurses’ aide at the Williams Hospital, now known as the Williams Health Care Center.

“My mom has taken care of so many people during her lifetime. She prays daily for everybody in the world,” said Wayne. “It is a privilege to take care of my mom. It is an honor to have a parent to take care of.”

During the tea, several individuals stepped forward to share their memories of Ruby’s kindness and strength.

“Ruby always had her homemade jam and jelly for everybody,” said Pouquette.

Bartell cherishes the times Ruby cared for her while she was recovering from surgeries.

“Whenever I woke up in the hospital, Ruby and my husband were always by my side,” remembered Bartell.

Norma McDowell recalls working with Ruby at the Williams Hospital.

“I have been a nurse for 47 years and I learned nearly everything from Ruby. I still ask myself, ‘What would Ruby do?’” said McDowell.

Others remember Ruby’s cooking, especially her famous German chocolate cake. The cake was anticipated throughout the years at community functions.

A long-time member of First Baptist Church in Williams, Ruby remained active in the community until several years ago.

In 1999, Ruby suffered a stroke. A broken hip in 2001 forced her to leave Williams. She now resides in Tucson at an independent senior living complex.

“I was blinded when I had my stroke,” said Ruby. “God gave me my sight back. I thank Him everyday.”

Ruby has five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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