Ruth George is 101 years old. For reference, 100 years ago, there was no such thing as TV or instant coffee, penicillin, disposable diapers, alkaline batteries, power steering, helicopters, or hairdryers. The first dedicated gas station in the U.S. didn’t open until 1913. A 1940 census conducted on plumbing in American homes showed that nearly half lacked a combination of hot/cold water, a tub or shower, and a flush toilet.
Life was different, but according to Ruth, life was good. Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ruth remembers spending much of her time outdoors, skimming down hillsides on sleds, jumping rope, playing hopscotch, and getting into the thousands of other things kids her age got into, before the invention of video games.
At times, life was also hard. Having lived through the Great Depression, a time when American families saw their income drop by nearly 40%, Ruth remembers her family, like millions of others, struggling to make ends meet. More prominent in her mind than the struggle, though, is the love and faith that kept her family working together when times were tough. Her father founded and built St. George Orthodox Church at 28th and Sherman Street, and Ruth remembers being raised in a household where strength was drawn from love, both for one another and for the Lord.
A self-starter, Ruth had a job from the time she was small. Barely bigger than a brown grocery bag herself, she remembers working at a grocery store for her first job and taking home $7.00 a week. Later on, she attended vocational school, where she studied business, shorthand, and typing. Her professional life came full circle later on, when she and her husband Joe would open up a grocery store together called Joe’s Groceries. The couple would also own several restaurants in Indianapolis.
Ruth and Joe’s parents had been friends, and the two grew up together before they fell in love. According to Ruth, “It was just meant to be.” They were married when Ruth was 25 and spent 39 happy years growing their family from two to six through the addition of four sons. Nowadays, Ruth has too many grandchildren to count, including Jeff George, former quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, and one great-great-granddaughter. Her current family spans five generations, beginning with Ruth, who holds the title of matriarch proudly, along with that of cancer survivor.
At Wellbrooke of Westfield, Ruth spends her days attending church services, writing poetry, and making a name for herself as a card shark, that is, when she isn’t visiting with one of her four boys, who have been known to stop by twice a day. She still lives her life according to her faith and knows that it is her trust in the Lord that has “kept her going all these years.”
We’ve learned a lot from Ruth during her time at our campus, and we know that we’re only scratching the surface. Her courage, her kindness, and her faith run deep, as does our respect for this true Westfield Wonder Woman.
Make sure to check out other Westfield Wonder Women on Wellbrooke of Westfield’s Facebook page!