Sunrise: July 21, 1931 – Sunset: January 25, 2011
Ruth Mildred Finley was born on July 21st, 1931 in Lampasas, Texas to Fredrick Douglas Finley and Dilsie Borders. She was the second of the 3 daughters. Betty, Ruth and Dorothy, known to the small town as the Finley sisters, enjoyed singing in church every Sunday. By the age of 8, Ruth’s parents divorced. Her mother would later marry Harold Mitchell. Soon after, her little brother, Howard (Bubba) Mitchell was born.
In 1943, the family moved to Los Angeles were, she would call her home for the next 67 years. Los Angeles also bought her 4 more siblings; Vivian, Theodore (Butch), Thelma and Lynn. Sista, as her siblings affectionately called her, often cared for her brothers and sisters as their mother worked long hours. Ruth worked jobs at a young age in order to help provide for the family. She often spoke of her first job as a waitress at Jacobs Café. She was so proud that she used her first paycheck to purchase coats for her sisters and mother.
In 1946, Ruth attended Jefferson High School, where she excelled. She was a cheerleader and hoped to one day become a nurse. During her junior year, she met a young man named Orlando Chew. They would later elope in Mexico and start a family together. In 1949, Carolyn Chew was born, followed by her brother Nelson in 1951. Ruth put any career plans she had on hold in order to raise her two kids and assist her husband in running his chain of gas stations. When times were hard, Ruth worked part time jobs as an elevator operator at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles and a telephone operator for Pacific Bell.
Ruth and Orlando divorced after 13 years of marriage. During the early 1960’s she met a modest but loving bails bondsman by the name of Jack Cassady. Although their marriage would only last a short time, Ruth would later confess that no man had ever treated her so kindly. In 1968, a younger man named William Stiger wooed her. They enjoyed trotting around Europe in 1969, where surprisingly her third child was conceived. In June of 1970, Jody Stiger was born to Ruth and William. Though never married, they stayed together until 1973.
Now 42 years old and caring for a small child, Ruth was looking for more stability. She remembered being introduced to a handsome man that was renting a room from her Aunt Cleo and Uncle Teddy, named Arthur Lee Williams. She was so taken by his charm she actually moved out of her own home for a year and moved in with her Aunt and Uncle just to be closer to him.
In October of 1975, they married and would spend the next 31 years together. During this time, they enjoyed bowling, camping and travelling to Laughlin, Nevada on a regular basis. In 1978, to the displeasure of her 8 year-old son Jody, Ruth took in her granddaughter Detwan and would spoil her for the rest of her life.
Ruth enjoyed working as a receptionist for the Law Office of Donald Kottler for 13 years and retired in 1988. While retired, Ruth and Arthur would continue their love for bowling and find a new hobby of exploring the newest slot machines in local casinos.
In 2006, Arthur left Ruth to be with the Lord. Though heartbroken, she praised God for his blessings and embraced her independence. She would find a new sisterhood with her best friend Virginia Marks and tighten her bound with her youngest sister Thelma. Ruth enjoyed playing card games until the wee hours of the morning with her girlfriends and reminisce on the good ole days.
On January 25th 2011, Ruth left us to be reunited with her husband Arthur in heaven. Ruth was a caring sister to her siblings, nurturing aunt to her many nieces and nephews, and a loving mother to her 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.
Her sons, Nelson and Jody, siblings Thelma, Theodore and Lynn survive her.