Ruby Winifred Lash Stephens, 86, of Cortland, went peacefully to be with her Lord on Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at the Cortland Care Center.
She was born March 1, 1925, in Blodgett Mills, NY, the youngest child of Cleveland George Lash and Bessie Mae Reynolds Lash. She grew up on the family farm on Lash Road in Virgil and graduated from Virgil Central School in 1942. She married William E. Stephens in 1946. She worked for many years in retail at Grand Union and W.T. Grants, and then began teaching ceramics. She co-founded and operated Seven Valley Shepherds, a sheltered workshop for developmentally disabled people. She also organized and ran Fun Night monthly for developmentally disabled adults to play Bingo, hold dances and celebrate birthdays. She was last employed by OCM BOCES as a job coach. She loved the Lord dearly and was a dedicated church attendee and bible-study organizer. She was active in the church and taught Sunday School for many years. She enjoyed spending time with her family, reading, flower gardening, sewing, crafts, music, bird-watching, and most of all, helping others in any way she could. She touched many lives with her caring ways. Ruby served on many boards statewide and locally which supported services and residences for the developmentally disabled. She was a co-founder, Board of Director, and Board of Director Emeritus of ARC in Cortland, was a member of the National PWSA (Prader-Willi Syndrome Association), a board member of NYSPWSA, on the NYS MRDD subcommittee, and on the Community Services Board. Ruby received the TOPS Good Neighbor Award. She received the J. M. Murray Center Humanitarian award in 2001 and the Volunteer of the Year award from the ARC of Cortland County in 2003. She served on local and regional residential committees and the advisory board for ARC of Cortland. Ruby is survived by her daughters Karen Stephens Knapp and Phyllis Stephens Toner DuRocher (Gary), of Cortland and her son William Earl Stephens, Jr. of Binghamton as well as her grandchildren: Kelly Knapp Hamilton (Brian), Liverpool; Monica Knapp Williams (Roger) , Cortland; James Toner (Isolina), Fairport; Matthew Toner (Nicole Fox) , Cazenovia; and Rebekah Toner Zoll (Brian), Cortland; and two great-grandchildren: Ariana Victoria Toner and Lailah Ruby Zoll. Also surviving are a brother Laurence Lash (Roberta) , Cortland; sisters-in-law, Elizabeth Lash, Marge Coe, Shirley Minor, and Bonnie Johnson, as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews. She was predeceased in 1990 by her husband of 44 years, William Stephens; son-in-law Donald H. Knapp in 2006; and her siblings, Alma Johnson Sherman, Emma Ward, Mary Lisi, Allen Lash, Laura Perry, Elsie Gridley, Dora Whiteford and Flora Hall. A celebration of Rubys life will be held at Wright-Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Ave., Cortland, on Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 1:30 and friends are invited to call from 12:00-1:30 p.m. prior to the service. Spring Interment will be in Virgil Rural Cemetery. Memorial donations may be sent to: Alzheimers Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871 or PWSA (USA), Prader-Willi Syndrome Association, 8588 Potter Drive, Suite 500, Sarasota, FL 34238. To offer online condolences, visit www.wright-beard.com.
So sorry to learn about Ruby's passing. She was a joy to know and spend time with. We enjoyed our time together with the Sunshine Pals, a singing group for people with challenges. We went to nursing homes,etc., to sing and play as well as benefits. God give you peace and comfort during this difficult time....sincere sympathy helen trimm
Dear Ruby's family, Please accept our sincere condolences on the lose of Ruby. Ray and Terry Stevens
Dear Phyllis; Karen and Billy So sorry to hear of your mom's death and upon reading her obituary was so proud to have ever known her! She was quite the lady and did so much for so many..... My earliest memories of your mom include and always smiling often laughing happy lady who made visiting my friends a warm and inviting event. Serving us ice cream with cheerio's on top while showing us a beautiful glass fish necklace that her Japanese friend had given her remain vivid pictures in my mind...... I hope you all find comfort in the next few days as you are surrounded by family and friends.... Love you all, Vicki (and of course John.....)
We are so sorry to hear of Ruby's passing. Your mom was a great lady and always so kind to us. I have great memories of your parents and wonderful times we all spent together. My heartfelt sympathies to all of you. Jay Stephen's granddaughter. Kathy O'Conner
Our sincere condolences to your whole family. A Mom, grandmother, and great grandmother is a terrible loss to all but, especially Ruby. You all had such fond memories of such a wonderful woman. Not only of all the good things she has done for so many, but of her cheerful nature no matter what her circumstances were. You will all carry the love she had for you all forever. Jim & Marcy Barr
am sorry to hear about your loss. I only got to know Ruby for a few months before she went to Cortland Care Center. I enjoyed visiting with her and listening to her memories. Millissa Ross
Thirteen years ago I had the first opportunity to meet Ruby. She was an active member of the Arc of Cortland when the Board of Directors made a courageous decision to improve the quality of services for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in Cortland County. Hence, the merger with Madison County creating Madison Cortland ARC. These were difficult times that required a great deal of patience, caring, and love. It was Ruby, who inspired us. She was thoughtful, supportive, encouraging, gratious, and compassionate in her thoughts, in her speech, and in her actions. She led the way to create a better world for all people. On behalf of the Board of Directors, the staff, and the people served,and NYSARC, Inc., I send our deepest sympathy to Ruby's family. She will be missed and her smile will always be remembered. Ray Lewandowski Executive Director Madison Cortland ARC
Karen and Phyllis, Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Ruby was a geat person and helped all that she could. Now she is with your father and they will wacth over you. Donna (Lidell) Lewis
Our condolences to you and your family, Karen. You are in our prayers. Love Sue and Dean
Phyllis, Karen and Billy, Dustin and I are very sorry to hear of your loss. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Love, Dustin and Elizabeth McCalmant
The Family of joseph and Helen Wakula would like to offer their deepest sympathy to the family of Ruby Stevens. Ruby was a good friend for many years and a lovely lady.
Dear Family: I'm sorry to hear about Ruby. I can't say enough to erase the hurt you are feeling at this time so I'd like to share with you a few scriptures from the BIble that comfort and encourage me. John 5:28-29 promises a resurrection, Ps 37:29 tells us we will live forever here on earth and Rev 21:4-5 promises there will be no more pain or death. These are all promises from God so we can surely look forward to them happening. I know that He doesn't take our loved ones from us but he will reunite us again in the near future when the time is right. I hope you gain the same comfort that I do from the Bible. Very Sincerely, Dee Bishop
Our heart felt prayers go out to all of Ruby's family. She will be missed by many friends as well who knew her well. We know she will be with the Lord as she had a very strong faith and loved the Lord. She lived her life helping others, especially the handicapped, and never expected or wanted anything for her time or efforts. She led a fruitful life. Many fond memories will be with us as we recall times spent with our friend, Ruby. Blessings, and prayers for comfort, Sharon and Gene Signor
Phyllis and Karen. So sorry to hear about your Mom's passing. Mine and Mike's thoughts and prayers are will you and our prayers are also with Billy. Love you all! Cousin Mary Anne Porter