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1934 Ruby 2021

Ruby McPhail

October 30, 1934 — January 17, 2021

On Sunday, January 17, 2021, Ruby McPhail, loving mother of Deborah Williamson, passed away at the age of 86.

Ruby was born in 1934 in Harrisburg, IL to Joe and Hattie (Tarrant) Odum. She received her Masters in Community Development from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL and worked for the state of Illinois as a Case Manager for Children and Family Services.  While Ruby was well versed in all the love languages, she embodied acts of service.

Ruby was a strong advocate for the mentally ill, heavily influenced by the mental illness that plagued her son Roger’s life. Ruby excelled at advocating and caring for Roger, improving the quality of his life, and extending the length of his life to age 51.

Ruby was an activist for progressive values, attending protests and rallies as recently as 2019. She was an author, a painter, and had a passion for fashion. She described herself as intense. She was known for her generosity, brilliance, and artistic flare.

Ruby was an active gardener, speed walker, and power shopper. She had an amazing ability to find treasures for next to nothing. Ruby was frugal and fond of saying, “Mind your nickels and your dollars will take care of themselves”. She would pinch and save all month only to turn around and splurge on her family.

Ruby loved unconditionally. She generously administered sympathy, support and love to all her friends and family. She would remind us in the words of Napoleon Hill, “Within every adversity is the seed of an equal or greater benefit”.

Ruby was preceded in death by her father, Joe, her mother, Hattie, her son Roger and siblings Joe, Walter, Edna, Dee, Frieda, Thelma, and Nadine. She is survived by her sister Opal, daughter Deborah, three granddaughters, Jamie, Jennifer, and Kirstin, several great grandchildren, and one great great granddaughter.

Among her final words were, “It’s all LOVE. It’s all LOVE.”

The family is planning a private memorial in April.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruby McPhail, please visit our flower store.


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