Ruth Ellen (nee Fussnecker) Malone passed onto her eternal home on Thursday, August 5, 2021 in her sleep at her Pisgah Ridge residence. “Ruthie or Ruth Ellen” as known by many was born on July 16, 1940 to parents, Alonzo Bernard “Banjo” and Velma Lee Swearingen Fussnecker in the farmhouse of her grandparents, Homer and Bertha (Sheeler) Swearingen along Eagle Creek in Decatur, Ohio.
She grew up in Ripley, living for several years on Front Street at the residence that is currently occupied by Co-Hearts Restaurant. She loved the Front Street atmosphere and when making the drive into town she hardly ever missed a chance to see “the river.” Many will share this indescribable emotion. Her final ride was the Front Street path. Some of her favorite memories are times she spent as a teenager during floods, wading through the muddy water with friends keeping watch on the waters as they rose and fell; also helping victims and store owners moving their perishables as the water crept closer as we well know it can. She’s told so many stories about being lectured to by Dr. Lyle C. Franz from the steps of his Front Street home “you kids are going to catch typhoid or worse wading in that water” but it fell on deaf ears. They had their wading boots on!
For 4 years, she lived with her grandparents until she was 12 and returned home to assist in caring for her baby sister, Dawn Lee who now resides in Oak Ridge, TN. Those formative years with Grandmother Bertha gave her the homemaking skills she possessed along with skills garnered being a 4-H youth and going to state competition at the Ohio State Fair. She was an exceptional homemaker and mother, but she enjoyed being outside more than being inside doing housework. She loved her flowers, raising a garden, wonderful times in the stripping room or working in the tobacco and hay fields. Ruthie never shrugged at physical labor. Her cooking and baking are well-known to many, especially her wedding cakes and peanut bars. She formed many everlasting friendships in the communities of Decatur, Red Oak, Ripley and the Pisgah Ridge group moving into the final farm homes off Old 68 on Martin Lane in 1970 & then onto Pisgah Ridge in 1979.
A beloved wife and mother, Ruth married Louis B. (Red) Malone on July 22, 1960 and had recently quietly celebrated a 61st anniversary with their daughter, Roxanne and her grand-dog, John Ross.
She was a 1959 graduate of Ripley Union Lewis High School and had also worked outside of her home at US Shoe Corporation in Ripley and Sho-Zees in Higginsport being an excellent seamstress. Later years she opened their home to providing day care to multiple children and cherished the everlasting bonds with those kids! It was more than a babysitting service; she became a surrogate grandmother to them never having any biological grandchildren of her own. She made sure they learned table manners and how to “set” a table for dinner as they sat down as a family for their meals. Homework was a priority; she helped each one with their lessons making sure their math work was done correctly and they knew their spelling word assignments. One special request was “her boys” would be pallbearers in honorarium posts: Nathan, Chad, Klay, Dillon, CJ, Kyle, Cory, Trent and Gage. Lovingly referred to as the “boys in the ‘hood.”
Being civic minded, she was a former member of Danbery Chapter #230, Order of the Eastern Star as a past Worthy Matron spear-heading numerous Masonic Temple dinners, Ripley River View Garden Club at local, regional and state levels, United Methodist Women & Gleaners Class, Brown County Republicans, Friends of the Library, The Progress Club, The Outhouse Gang created with her involvement with citizen band radios, Election Day poll worker, 5 C’s co-op food distribution at Centenary and chaired the baking contest for many years for the Ohio Tobacco Festival and loved assisting with the Prayer Breakfast on Sunday mornings. There was always a parade float designed and created for the opening parade during the Tobacco Festival often placing with awards with the creation of the Pisgah Ridge Part-Timers. Never passing up an opportunity to volunteer her talents, she worked tirelessly with Ruth Bloyer during the Bicentennial of 1976 designing and creating 20 Can-Can dresses and 20 Flapper dresses for the ladies that performed forming many lasting friendships through these connections. She loved attending the annual Charity Ball held as a fall social event. For numerous years, she also decorated the exterior of the Union Township Public Library in preparation for the Christmas season and River Village Christmas with seasonal greens and hand-made ribbons. She remained faithful to Pisgah Christian Chapel becoming a trustee and treasurer for numerous years, through the urging of Helen Myers for a position she still held. She always made sure the chapel was clean for the annual events and weddings still held there. From this, an annual well-known, hot-ticket meal of the Mother’s Day Fried Chicken Dinner evolved – an event primarily prepared by “mothers” within this organization. Never being a member, she continued to support the Ripley Lions’ Club with their events by baking and contributing to their festivals. Until the last few years, she always participated in the Brown County Fair with baking and flower arranging competitions. Ruth never shirked from offering to lend her well-worn hands. She hosted, along with willing daughter, Roxanne and foot-dragging spouse, Red a pre-Thanksgiving Dinner for local widows when she realized how many women of our community were alone. This turned into a fall event second to none with weeks of planning on their part. The excitement this created in anticipation is still enjoyed in reminiscent memory. Widowed women were welcomed wholeheartedly and grew in number as each year passed as word got out. An afternoon of talking, laughing, sharing and even shedding a few tears while consuming a delicious dinner coordinated by the ladies so no one duplicated dishes and was well-organized down to pick up times for those that didn’t drive. No one wanted this day to end nor to leave returning to their homes.
It was a dream of Ruth’s to have a restaurant her entire life which never evolved, but the number of meals, dinners and events she headed up more than qualified as being a restauranteur. Along with Roxanne, they catered many meals for a local nursing home’s annual volunteer dinner, monthly Lions’ Club meetings and she baked every weekend for the St. Michael’s Saturday night bingo. The first bingo held on the eve of her father’s funeral; but she wouldn’t cancel! Her word was her honor, once committed to a task, consider it done. Of late, she baked daily for local restaurants specializing in apple dumplings, cream pies, blackberry case and those ever-famous peanut bars. Once COVID’s prevalence in the community closed local eateries, retirement was inevitable. Her spatula was placed in the drawer and apron folded and tucked away.
Ruth was preceded in death by her beloved grandparents, parents and brother-in-law George W. Malone and survived by her sister-in-law, Shirley Ann (Boyd) Malone who made her “Aunt Ruthie” to Kathy, Jim and Kevin, also Cherie Ferrell of Florida and Donna Jolene of Tennessee, both daughters of Dawn’s. She is also survived by many great nieces, great nephews as well as great greats!
A life-long member of Centenary United Methodist Church it is only befitting her services will be held at 110 North Second Street in Ripley on Saturday, August 14, 2021. Visitation from 11-1 with a memorial tribute beginning at 1; immediately followed by a dinner in the Fellowship Hall lovingly hosted by the United Methodist Women. Parking will also be available in the Church of Christ adjoining parking lots. Guests are asked to bring a side dish/dessert. In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to the Ripley Friends of the Library in care of Alison Gibson, Library Director at UTPL, 27 Main Street, Ripley, Ohio 45167.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruth Ellen (Fussnecker) Malone, please visit our floral store.
August 14, 2021
11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Centenary United Methodist Church
110 N 2nd, P.O. Box 323
Ripley, OH 45167