Ruby Ann WaddillFebruary 11, 1919 ~ December 16, 2017 (age 98)
Ruby Ann Waddill
Ruby Ann Hallagin Waddill was born February 11, 1919 near McDonald, Kansas. Her parents were Henry Lee Hallagin and Bertha May Banister Hallagin. She was the ninth child of eleven born to “Lee” and Bertha and the last surviving of the Hallagin children. Ruby was proceeded in death by her husband, Clay Peak Waddill (died 1998), grandson Kenny Morris and great-granddaughter, Michele Bolda.
The 11 Hallagin children were: Walter, Roy, Opal, Evertt, Elmer, Clarence, Marion, Chester, Ruby, Pearl and Goldie. The girls were all named after precious jewels and Ruby was precious beyond measure. These children had 45 children, making Ruby an aunt to 40 nieces and nephews... and she remembered all their birthdays! She enjoyed asking about their updates on Facebook and recently "Facetimed" with her great-granddaughter, Ashley, in the Czech Republic.
Raised in a sod house, her family faced very bleak times. Money was scarce, but love was plentiful. Her brothers and sisters played games, sang songs, learned musical instruments – all without electricity, running water, indoor plumbing, etc. She worked in a little café in McDonald as a teenager and would get in trouble at school for being late, due to her job, so she quit school in 11th grade. The café owners happened to have a handsome teenage son, named Clay. Well, Ruby and Clay took a liking to each other and got married on July 23, 1936, both at age 17. Grandpa Lee gave his blessing to Clay, saying it was okay “as long as I don’t have another mouth to feed.”
Jobs were hard to find for a 17-year-old young man who dropped out after the “8th grade reader," so Ruby and Clay took off traveling to find work. They found adventures in Kansas and Missouri. Ruby was determined to return to McDonald when her first child (Don) was due, so that her daddy could deliver her baby (as he did for his kids!). She and Clay hitchhiked in the winter (and she in high-heels) to get back home to Kansas. Don arrived as a healthy baby in January 1938, despite the hardship endured.
Surviving the Great Depression brought Clay and Ruby to Colorado, moving to Englewood in 1941. Their family continued to grow, with daughters, Linda, Jeanette, Patty and Debbie, all being born at Porter Hospital, close to the family home purchased in 1953 on South Humboldt Street. All the children attended Englewood Public Schools.
Ruby was a cocktail waitress when Clay played out at honky-tonks in his country & western band in the Denver area. She liked to call herself “the first singing waitress” as she served drinks and jumped on the stage to sing harmony with her husband. She was quite the dancer, entertainer, hostess and social butterfly. Her home was full of parties, jam sessions, poker games, and people coming and going all the time. Mostly, it was full of love. Check out the YouTube video of "Silent Night" with Ruby and her daughters, filmed when she was 92 years old. She was still singing a week before she died.
Being a mother and wife was the world to Ruby, and her love only grew when she became a grandmother at 39, just three years after having her last baby! Her son, Don, married Judy Dolezal and they had “Little Donnie”, Robert and Stevie. Her daughter, Linda, married Grant Morris, and their union added Tim, Kenny, Troy and Brenda to the growing list of grandchildren. Jeanette and her marriage to Dean Enloe added Tammy and Tiffany. Patty married Steve Work and had Shannon and Clint. Steve was like a son to Ruby, being in the family for more than 47 years. Lastly, Debbie and Dave had Kayla – a total of 12 grandchildren. Add great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, plus even more with spouses and blended families – it made for a huge family full of love and laughter.
Ruby began losing her eyesight in 1985 due to early onset macular degeneration. It broke her heart when she had to give up driving, which she loved to do in their 1960 white Cadillac. Even without being able to see, she would still write notes in cursive and backwards, for the grandkids to hold up to the mirror to read! She loved solving the "Jumble" in the Denver Post (with someone reading it to her), riddles, jokes and trivia. She knew all the states and their capitals, along with reciting the alphabet backwards! Her memory was like a steel trap and she was always right.
Her only son, Don, moved in with her and Clay in 1985. After Clay’s passing in 1998, Don became her full-time companion, caregiver and buddy. Our family is grateful for his tender, loving care for our mother. Her health began to decline considerably in 2017, as she had two hospital stays, along with time in rehabilitation centers. She became very frail and tired when she passed peacefully at her home in Englewood on Saturday morning, December 16, 2017 at the age of 98, just a few weeks shy of 99 years old.
A heartwarming celebration of Ruby's life was held at South Suburban Christian Church in Littleton on December 20, 2017, with burial at Olinger Chapel Hill cemetery. Pastor Joe Hess gave an eloquent tribute to an amazing woman, her family members wore red, her favorite color, and the church was beautifully decorated for Christmas. A special tree was displayed in her honor, with many photos clipped to its branches. The Waddill family greatly appreciates all of your love and support during this difficult time, and as Ruby would say, "I love you more."
Family and friends are encouraged to share stories and photographs as well as sign the guest book here on Ruby's website (click appropriate tab on the left side of this page).