In Memoriam Ruby Tuesday
On Tuesday April 10th, 2018 a Memorial Service will be held for Ruby Tuesday, a dedicated Homeless Advocate in Fort Myers ,Florida. It will be held at 3:30 PM in Centennial Park on the river front in Fort Myers. Rev. Ron Willis of Love and Compassion Ministries will preside assisted by Rev.Dr.Judy Lee,RCWP of Good Shepherd Ministries and Mrs.Portia Wright, Ruby’s beloved and Christ-like dedicated best friend of many years.
Ruby Tuesday, whose name was Stacie Joy Pearce,nee Stacie Joy Shapiro,was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Fort Myers several years ago. She was born on December 15, 1957 and died on February 4,2018. After many rounds of chemotherapy her heart was weakened and she was admitted to the Lee Memorial Hospital ER where was admitted to the hospital then died of heart failure. Yet, Ruby’s was a heart full of concern for others. After putting her own battle with homelessness behind her she became an Advocate for the area homeless, serving on the Board of the Fort Myers Coalition to End Homelessness. Janet Bartos, the head of the Coalition, Kathy Sager and several others from the Coalition will attend the Memorial Service.
Ruby Tuesday is her chosen name and the one everyone knew. She loved the out of doors, especially the river front and the parks. She loved color and turquoise stones and natural things. She wore colorful long cotton skirts and cotton tops with a Native American or arty motif and high topped boots. She liked to carry many of her possessions with her and sometimes used a cart or a rolling walker with a seat and basket to do so. She liked to call herself “an old hippie”. Yet, every moment she lived expressed her care for others, including her orange and white cat Gouda whom she reluctantly had to give up for adoption when she moved into an Assisted Living Facility four years ago. I would send her pictures of Gouda in his new home and this brought her great joy. Ruby made wonderful jewelry from semi-precious stones. She sold it and often gave her money to people who were currently homeless. And she sometimes also gave it away to her friends.
We met Ruby first in Lion’s Park in 2007 as we ministered to and with homeless people in the park. She often brought the needs of others to my attention. I called her my assistant and case finder. She also liked to help plan the menu for the regular meal favoring fresh vegetables and fruits. She was, then, a vegetarian and she helped me as I slowly became one. She believed that poor and hungry people needed a healthy and not starchy meal. Once she asked me to bring a green pea salad for her, which I did and she was so pleased. We slowly built trust and became friends. She liked to sit two or three seats behind me-near, but not too close. At the time she was homeless but she was then able to get apartments, then a trailer, then she was accepted into Goodwill Housing for the physically disabled. The picture below was taken on the day she went for her interview with Goodwill. She enjoyed living in her little Goodwill townhouse in North Fort Myers until she faced more difficult physical problems and moved on to Assisted Living. In the last year Pastor Judy Beaumont and I met Ruby at the Cancer Center several times as both were receiving their medications. We were able to embrace and pray together at those times. While Ruby battled difficult physical and mental illness she remained a beacon of light to others, leading them to assistance and homes.
All are welcome to attend as we pay our respects and say good-bye to a dear friend and colleague in the service of the homeless. the words of the 23rd Psalm are right for her:
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6).
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries of Southwest Florida