Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TOP STORY >> Ruble Bailey at 100: Don’t quit

Ruble Bailey (third from left in front row) celebrated her 100th birthday with her family on Sunday. Back row, from left are her grandson-in-law, Michael Byrd; granddaughter, Elizabeth Byrd; daughter, Fern Cross; son, Jerry W. Bailey; daughter-in-law, Loretta Bailey; and grandson, Jerry D. Bailey. From left in the front row are her roommate, Peggy Cox; great-grandson, Jackson Byrd; and great-granddaughter, Mallory Byrd.
Leader staff writer

Ruble Bailey, a resident of Sherwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, celebrated her 100th birthday there on Sunday, surrounded by her loving and obviously close-knit family.

Bailey said her secret to living this long is, “Don’t quit.”

She was born May 27, 1915, in the small town of Summerland, Miss.

Bailey’s mother, father, two sisters and brother moved to Arkansas five years after she was born.

The centenarian said the family relocated for a better climate because her mother was ill. Her father was a sharecropper in Arkansas.

Bailey’s daughter, Fern Cross, told The Leader her mother used to walk two miles to school.

Bailey married her husband, Noble, in 1934. They had two children — Cross and her brother, Jerry W. Bailey — and moved to Jacksonville in 1943. She was widowed in 1998.

Cross proudly described how her mother — after she and her brother left home — rode the bus daily to Little Rock to fulfill her dream of becoming a licensed practical nurse.

Bailey enjoyed a 16-year career at the St. Vincent Infirmary. She told The Leader her family couldn’t afford to send her to nursing school earlier in her life, as she grew up during the Great Depression.

She liked being a nurse because she likes helping people and got great joy from seeing patients get well.

Bailey’s daughter is also a nurse, and the centenarian said she worked hard to make that possible.

The 100-year-old also resided at the Jacksonville Towers for eight years and lived at Worley’s Place before that. Both are in Jacksonville.

Bailey attended First Baptist Church in Jacksonville for 60 years.

She dedicated countless hours as an Order of the Eastern Star member and a CareLink volunteer, having been named the latter’s 2004 Volunteer of the Year.

Bailey was joined by her children; daughter-in-law, Loretta Bailey; two grandchildren, Elizabeth and her husband Michael Byrd, and Jerry D. Bailey; two great-grandchildren, Jackson and Mallory Byrd, and caring roommate, Peggy Cox.