May 2, 2019 GMT

On April 27, 2019, under the half-moon light, our beloved Mom boarded a train bound for Heaven where Dad welcomed her warmly and asked her to join him in a nocturnal waltz. Born on August 21, 1930, RUTH EVELYN SLONE was the youngest daughter of John Andrew Slone and Eula Day Slone of Ashland, Ky. A child of the Depression with five older siblings, Ellouise, Jack, Helen, Donald and Wade, and a younger brother, Freddie, Ruth learned at an early age that the sweetest meat was next to the bone. Yet she never complained. She adored her brothers, especially Donald and Freddie, and she often served as referee between her older sisters, both of whom she loved dearly. On Memorial Day of 1953, Ruth met a tall, intelligent and kind young mechanical engineer from Clifton Forge, Va., who had rented a room in the boarding house of her best friend’s family. Five months later, she married Thomas Gale “Jack” Spatig and moved with him to C&O’s headquarters in Richmond, Va. There she worked as a secretary, first in a bank and then at an insurance firm. She fell in love with both the city and the Chesapeake Bay. In Richmond, Va., Ruth and Jack made lifelong friends in Genevra and Lee Burgess, with whom they often would vacation and spend the Thanksgiving holidays. In 1962, C&O/B&O transferred Jack to Huntington, bringing Ruth closer to her family and her hometown. They started a family, welcoming sons James Robert Spatig in 1963 and George Thomas Spatig in 1967. Ruth found the most joy in her role as a mother. Although Bob and Tom were her only biological children, she became a second mom to dozens of others, especially the “backyard neighbors” in Arlington Park. Ruth served as a PTA officer at Geneva Kent Elementary School, typed countless heat sheets for the Y-Huntington Swim Club and managed the concession stand in the little red caboose at Little League 6. She was a fixture at parent-teacher conferences, piano recitals, choir concerts and swim meets, as well as football, basketball and baseball games. And she loved every single minute of it. Ruth’s other passion was quilting; her extensive material collection occupied a significant portion of their basement on Parkway Drive. She was an active member of the Huntington Quilt Guild, and one of her favorite activities was making quilts for newborns in local area hospitals. In 2004, Mom and Dad relocated to Olive Branch, Miss., where they lived with Tom and his wife, Cheryl Smith Spatig. Ruth became a founding member of Y-Knot Quilt at the Olive Branch YMCA, and she was an active Friend of the BJ Chain Public Library. An avid baker, Momwas well-known in several states for her Christmas cookies, candied pecans and Chex mix. After Jack passed in 2012, Ruth bought a home in Clearwater Beach, Fla., which had been a favorite vacation spot of her family for fifty years. She relished spending winters there with Tom and Cheryl. Bob and his husband, Johnny Prugh, frequently visited “Ruth’s House” from their own home in Tampa, Fla. Mom’s only regret was that she did not have grandchildren to spoil, but she more than made up for that by doting on other’s grandkids, especially her grandnieces, Carly and Lindsey. After a brief illness, Ruth passed in the comfort of her own bedroom under the care of both Methodist Alliance Hospice and Comfort Keepers. Tom, Cheryl, Bob and Johnny were with her during her last days. Ruth is also survived by her sister, Helen Slone Smith, 16 nieces and nephews, and a slew of others who considered her a surrogate mom, a soul sister or a dear friend, all of whom she loved unconditionally. Her Light will continue to burn brightly in the hearts of everyone whose lives she touched. On Saturday, May 4, Ruth’s sons and their spouses will hold a visitation from 10 a.m. to noon at Steen Funeral Home located at 1501 Central Avenue in Ashland, Ky., followed by a private celebration of Ruth’s life in Huntington that afternoon. (Time/Location: TBD; details via social media later this week.) Colorful attire is encouraged at both events. Over the years, Ruth was grateful for excellent treatment from her doctors, but always cherished the loving care and attention from her nurses. Not having been afforded the opportunity to pursue higher education herself, she actively encouraged others to follow their dreams. Thus, in lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the “Ruth Slone Spatig Memorial Scholarship Fund” at the University of Memphis Loewenberg College of Nursing (supportum.memphis.edu/spatig). Alternatively, donations in Ruth’s memory may be made to the general scholarship fund at St. Mary’s School of Nursing (www.st-marysfoundation.org/foundation-support/make-a-donation) in Huntington. More importantly, Ruth would want you to love the children in your lives unconditionally and to hug them as often as possible just as she did. She was and always will be the quintessential mom.