Ruth Ann Halicks, matriarch, backbone, grammarian and glue of the large and sometimes unruly Paducah family, could and often did recite Longfellow and Keats and Coleridge, well into her tenth decade.
Her failing health in recent years only seemed to intensify her love for her family. And her mental acuity rarely flagged: she remained an avid bridge player to the end, even after her infirmities kept her away from her beloved bridge club and her only opponent was the computer; she recalled events of 70 years ago with crystalline clarity; she read her large-print biographies of the nation's founders with relish; she took part in the monthly book club at the library well into her 90s; she kept careful track of the exploits of her children and of their children; she delighted in the way her family rippled out across the world.
She was a devout, lifelong Catholic and a member of St. Thomas More parish since the family moved to Paducah in 1966. She often followed Christ into the world, as a literacy instructor teaching children, exchange students and jail inmates, and as a Eucharistic minister delivering Communion to the sick. She worked as a secretary and bookkeeper at radio stations and was a school secretary at Reidland High School for many years.
She was, above all, a wife and a mother, known variously to her children as mommy, mom, mama, ma, mater and jo, as in "jo mama."
Ruth Ann Greenlee Halicks, wife of the late William Martin Halicks, mother of seven, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of one, died Monday evening, May 12, 2014, at Lourdes Hospital. She was 94.
Ruth Ann and Bill are survived by their seven children: Marianne Halicks of Paducah, Robin Carlino and husband Chuck of Leavenworth, Kan., Ruth Ann Halicks of Cincinnati, Ohio, CAPT William Greenlee Halicks (USNR-Retired) and wife Sheree of Paducah, John Martin Halicks and wife Pat of Paducah, Richard August Halicks and wife Debbie of Peachtree City, Ga. and David Robert Halicks and wife Carla of Harrison, Tenn.
These were seven loving children, and she had a unique relationship with each, acting as confidant, adviser, sounding board and cheerleader. Her home was the holiday gathering place for her children and their children for decades.
She was born in Washington D.C. on Christmas Eve 1919, the daughter of Capt. Halford R. "Hal" Greenlee (USN-Retired) and Edith Miller Greenlee. She was the last survivor of Hal and Edith's six children: Bill, Bob, Ned, Betty, Ruth Ann and David. She was especially close to Betty, her only sister, and David, the baby of the family. She named the baby of her own family David.
Ruth Ann attended college in New Hampshire, ending her college career early with the outbreak of World War II. Her father was posted to Galveston, Texas, and she moved with him and her mother, working as a civilian employee of the Navy.
Ruth Ann met Army Air Corps. 1st Lt. William Martin Halicks, in Galveston and, after a whirlwind courtship, the two were married in 1945. They remained inseparable for 35 years, until Bill's death in 1980 at 63.
A funeral mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, with Ruth Ann's beloved pastor, the Rev. J. Patrick "Father Pat" Reynolds, officiating. Burial will follow at Mt. Carmel Cemetery, where Ruth Ann will rejoin her husband, Bill, who was buried there 34 years ago. The Halicks family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday, May 15, 2014, at Milner & Orr Funeral Home of Paducah. Prayers will be offered at 7 p.m.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of contributions to: St. Thomas More Catholic Church.
You may leave a message of sympathy and light a candle of remembrance at www.milnerandorr.com
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