Ruth Evelyn McCloud, 88, of Batavia, passed away peacefully Thursday, June 14, 2012, at Manor Care in Naperville, surrounded by the love and care of her family. Released from the frailty of her earthly body, she closed her tired eyes and claimed her Savior’s promise of a place prepared for her.
Ruth was born Sept. 9, 1923, in Otis, Colo., the second daughter of Herbert and Grace (McNutt) McMurray. In December of that year, hard times caused the family to move back to Nebraska, where Herbert could find work and they could be near family. They lived on a farm south of Liberty until 1930, when they moved to Lincoln, where Ruth was enrolled in a large elementary school. It was quite a change from the Prairie Queen Rural School, where she began her education, but adjust she did and went on to graduate from College View High School in 1941.
She taught one year in a country school and went on to attend both the University of Nebraska and McPherson College in Kansas. In December of 1945, Ruth was in her junior year at Kansas, but at the time was staying with her sister, Winifred Conley, for the holidays. The only one of three sisters still unattached, Ruth was hoping to find a returning soldier whose last name began with “Mc,” and who met a list of other requirements. Her sister, Ferne, worked at the Recorder’s Office and was watching for a suitable possibility. George McCloud fit the profile.
In December of 1945, Burdette Conley, the local funeral director, asked George to drive George’s new car as a flower car for a funeral. George knew the Conley family well, including Chuck and Winifred. As fate would have it, Ruth was at the funeral home answering telephones. George was furnishing his new car, and match-making was in the air.
Following their chance meeting in Carrie Conley’s kitchen, George invited Ruth to see “Rhapsody in Blue” on New Year’s Eve at the Paramount in Aurora. After the movie, they had a quiet dinner, a first kiss, and the match was made. Ruth returned to school in Kansas; shortly, George came for a visit. He proposed, she accepted, and on June 7, 1946, they were married at the Elburn Congregational Church in Elburn. They made their first home at the Emeritt Hughes residence in Elburn.
Ruth taught for three years at the Blaine Street School in Batavia. Ruth and George made their home in several places in Batavia while both of them were teaching there. Ruth set her teaching aside and became a full-time mother when the first of her children was born. George and Ruth were blessed with two sons, Page and Alan, but also knew the pain of loss with two children, ho died in infancy—George M. in 1949 and Cathleen R. in 1954.
In 1954, George took a position in Leaf River, and they made their home there for a time. They returned to Batavia and then to Westmont in 1955. In 1957, son James was born, and their family was complete.
After her children were older, Ruth returned to college and attended Northern Illinois University nights and summers until she earned her bachelor’s in elementary education in 1966 and her master’s degree shortly thereafter. During those years, Ruth returned to teaching. She taught in numerous elementary grades in Clarendon Hills, Warrenville and Wheaton, retiring in 1979.
In 1980, George and Ruth retired to Melbourne, Fla., and made their home both there and in Sebring, Fla. While in Florida, they were involved with the Lamp Lighter Players, the Elk’s Lodge, their local church, and spent many hours bowling and playing golf.
In 1996, George and Ruth returned again to Elburn to be closer to their children and family. George passed away in 2003, and Ruth went to make her home at Heritage Woods in Batavia, where she continued to live.
Ruth was a woman with a great sense of humor and loved to play jokes. She had a creative side that was seen not only by her family, but by the many students who passed through her classroom. She enjoyed playing the piano, which was a gift she shared with her children and grandchildren. She also used her musical gifts when she and George put on skits for the Lamplighters.
Ruth had an independent spirit that, in later years, helped her to take care of her own affairs. Ruth loved children, especially the little ones, and welcomed gladly the birth of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was a gifted storyteller, and to all of those she loved, she leaves a legacy of stories, including those in her own handwriting in a book entitled “Grandmother, A Record Book of Memories.” As the years go by, those stories will be retold from generation to generation whenever her family gathers together.
Ruth was a member of the Community Congregational Church of Elburn.
She is survived by three sons, Page (Carol) McCloud of Batavia, Alan (Nancy) McCloud of Batavia, and James (Jane) McCloud of Naperville, Ill.; eight grandchildren, Jack (Emily) McCloud of Westminster, Colo., Scott (Nicole) McCloud of Elburn, Michael (Jessica Anzolloto) McCloud of Aurora, Linnea McCloud of Batavia, Tessa (Mike) Wagner of Geneva, Tara (Matt) Carlson of Batavia, Rebecca McCloud and Stephanie McCloud, both of Naperville; five great-grandchildren, Scott, Josie, Dylan, Violet and Maxwell (with four more on the way); one sister, Ferne (Ralph) Conley of Batavia; a number of nieces and nephews, and a lifetime of friends.
She is preceded in death by her husband, George; two children in infancy, George M. and Cathleen R.; her parents, Herbert and Grace McMurray; one sister and brother-in-law, Winifred and Charles Conley; and one nephew, Bruce Conley.
Visitation was held Monday at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A service to celebrate her life was held on Tuesday morning at the funeral home, and officiated by Pastor Michelle Prentice-Leslie of Community Congregational Church in Elburn. Interment was held at Blackberry Township Cemetery in Elburn.
Memorials in Ruth’s name may be made to the Ruth E.McCloud Memorial and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL 60119. Tributes may be forwarded to the family at the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com, which is where you may also read her life story.