Ruby’s Memorial Service
Ruby Tuesday, also known as Stacie Pearce, had a beautiful and heartfelt send-off yesterday. Here are some highlights from the Memorial Service for Ruby Tuesday yesterday afternoon-Tuesday April 10 from about 4-6 PM on the river front in Fort Myers, Florida.
I started the Service off with the help of four of the members of Good Shepherd Ministry, Harry Lee Gary, Brenda Cummings, Kathy Roddy,and Judy Alves and Pastor Marina Teresa Sanchez leading the singing: This is the day, the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it” and This is Holy Ground. Then Rev. Ron Willis of Love and Compassion Ministries opened the Service with prayer and shared his reflections of Ruby’s road and closeness to Jesus. He, and all of the others who shared their memories also noted that Ruby could stretch our abilities to help. He told, with humor, a story of taking her to breakfast before an important meeting with all the difficulties of managing Ruby’s large cart of personal items.
Janet Bartos, Director of the Coalition shared how Ruby taught her how to relate to homeless people by commenting with dry humor on her very nice and very proper suit. She emphasized how Ruby attended every Coalition meeting and was a great Advocate for the homeless.
Portia Wright had created a beautiful large portrait of Ruby that we all admired as we remembered Ruby.
We remembered Ruby as an artist and jewelry maker and several commented on her generosity in sharing her work with others. A painting of lovely houses on a hill that Ruby made has been donated to the Coalition for fund raising by Ruby’s Case Manager who had been gifted with it. We also recalled how she constantly tried to help others, giving much away.
Kathy Sager and others shared how working with Ruby helped them to learn how to be helpful to others who experience the pain and sorrow of physical and mental illnesses and yet demonstrated the unusual strengths that Ruby did.
Kathy Roddy shared how she and Ruby became acquainted at Goodwill Housing in North Fort Myers. While I asked Kathy to reach out to Ruby, Ruby made herself known by appearing every day at dinner time. Kathy was also helpful in getting Ruby’s cat Gouda ready for adoption when Ruby went into Assisted Living Care. Kathy Roddy was moved by the Service and shared how much Ruby had taught her about helping.
Portia Wright then shared the story of fourteen years of knowing Ruby and accompanying her through many moves and changes, sometimes with exasperation but always with patience and love. She reflected on how much Ruby meant to her and her family including her grandson who was present at the Service.She played two beautiful songs on the CD player before the weather suddenly changed and a storm quickly brewed.
I quickly moved to wind it up and after a brief commendation of Ruby to our loving God, and the summing up that Ruby taught many of us here how to serve and we are thankful to her for that and for her courageous life the wind gained tropical storm force. I enjoined the group to join hands in Jesus’ prayer and as just we concluded all that was beautifully laid on tables, food, flowers, and art objects from Ruby began to fly across the area. I said, “well, go in peace but this is either a bad early summer storm or Ruby trying to tell us something”. Many answered definitively as they hastily departed: “It’s Ruby!”
Some aspects of Ruby’s life were like the Tropical storm force winds-capricious, unpredictable and causing chaos. She was one,like some of the other homeless people, who refused to accept that she needed medication for her mental health to be balanced and so it wasn’t. And her physical ills and pain would be equally strong and unpredictable. As she endured chemotherapy for her illness and also endured an unexpected move up to a facility in Punta Gorda she held on tight to her friends and to our loving God. And she kept on caring about and trying to help others. We also reflected on how Ruby is now with God, healed and whole and that was our comfort.
Then we were blown away and drenched to the bone- a new baptism of the Spirit for those who serve ?
In the words of the chorus of the song by the Rolling Stones that bears her chosen name:
“Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I’m gonna miss you….”
Let us follow Ruby’s teaching and serve one another,
Love and blessings,
Pastor Judy Lee, RCWP
Good Shepherd Ministries of Southwest Florida