HARCO — Ruby Mae (Cravens) Clarida, was welcomed into Heaven on Feb. 3, 2018, just days short of her 102nd birthday. She went home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the angels and a multitude of family and friends who were certainly wondering what had been taking her so long to join them.
Services were at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, in Sloan Funeral Home in Galatia, with the Rev. Gaylon Parks officiating. Burial was in Brushy Cemetery in Harco. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at the funeral home.
Ruby Mae Cravens was born Feb. 12, 1916, in the Crab Orchard area of Williamson County to John and Bessie Cravens. She was the oldest and only girl of six children. Miss Ruby moved to the Harco area in Saline County as a youngster for her father to find work, and that is where she first met and fell in love with Leeman Clarida.
They were married on Oct. 15, 1934, and they set up household on a small farm near Harco. Soon, children came along, Leeman Ray, Betty Larue, Linda Lou Howver, James Lawrence, Larry Gene, David Lee and Gary Robert.
Mr. Clarida worked in coal mines and various other jobs. Mrs. Clarida was well-known for her laying hens and had many customers on her “egg route.” She also aided the family’s income by taking on housekeeping jobs. She worked hard to make her family as comfortable as she could.
Ruby knew (and was known by) everyone in the community. She took the Lord Jesus Christ as her savior when she was 18. In 1946, she helped organize a small church near her home. Smart’s Chapel was completed and dedicated in 1947. Mrs. Clarida was the oldest surviving and founding member.
The church was a busy place for many years, then, as happens in many small country churches, people began to move off or travel to attend larger churches in surrounding towns. But not Ruby! For many years, even during long stretches when there was no pastor or congregation, Ruby would get dressed up on Sunday morning and walk the short distance down the road to open the church doors to any who might enter. She rang the bell, read from her Bible and sang praises to the Lord. Eventually, Mrs. Clarida’s unwavering dedication paid off and for several years, Smart’s Chapel again had a pastor and fine congregation.
Mrs. Clarida had seen and endured many things over the past century. Think of the history contained in that tiny woman! Mrs. Clarida has known the joy of watching children grow as well as the sorrow of losing them. Betty and Gary both passed away as youngsters, and in 1980 after 44 years of marriage, Mr. Clarida passed away. She was also preceded in death by her sons, Lawrence James and Larry Gene; brothers, Jess, Paul, Theodore and Carl Cravens.
Survivors include her children and their families, Ray (Marcella) Clarida and their children, Steve, Bill (Nicole), Rick (Joyce), Ronald and Robert Alan (Carrie) Clarida; Linda (Noel) Howver and their children, Mike (Cindy) Howver, Jenny Bolten, Jim (Deb) Howver, Judy (John) Andrea, Jay (Jen) Howver; Lillian Clarida (the late Lawrence James’ wife) and their children, James Clarida, Lisa (Ron) Craig and Tim Clarida; Linda Anne Clarida (the late Larry Gene’s wife) and their children, Jeanne Adaszak, John (Christine) Clarida and Michelle (Tony) Koliopoulos; and David Lee and his daughter, Denise (Patrick) Bond; her brothers, Huey and Don Cravens; and so many grandchildren and great-grandchildren it is hard to keep count; as well as great-great-grandchildren, making up a plentiful five generations of Claridas.
Ruby could recall and loved each and every one of them dearly, and was especially proud of those great-great-grandchildren.
Through good times and bad, Mrs. Clarida never lost her faith. She spent her widowed years growing beautiful, bountiful gardens, keeping care of her endless varieties of flowers, quilting and sewing (making upwards of 75 quilts), canning and freezing, fishing, crafting, cooking meals and baking to feed anyone who came along. Her family said if you left Mrs. Clarida’s home with an empty belly, it was your own fault.
Ruby once suggested this advice for a good, long life: Don’t smoke or drink alcohol, work hard, eat well, go to church and have a relationship with the Lord, and definitely just keep busy. She said she has enjoyed the past century and the most important things in her life have not been things, but those who she loves: Jesus, her husband, her children, all those grandkids and friend. Her family and friends will miss her and cherish her impact on their lives.