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Ruby M. Gilliam, 99
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Ruby Marie Gilliam, 99, of Minerva, passed away Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.
Ruby was born to Ullysses Simpson and Racheal Virginia (Craft) Craft in Neon, KY, Nov.12, 1922, two years after women won the right to vote in the United States.
Ruby grew up during the Great Depression. She attended Lees College in Jackson, KY, to earn a teaching degree and taught school for six years in Kentucky. While in college, she met Darwin Cawdill. They were married just before he enlisted in the Army. Cawdill was killed in France in 1944 shortly after D-Day. When he died, Gilliam left her teaching job and enlisted. She served her country as part of the Navy Waves during WWII. She still got emotional whenever remembering when she put that uniform on as it was “The proudest day of her life.” While stationed with the WAVES in Washington, she met Charles Gilliam, a Marine who served at Guadalcanal. They married and moved to Minerva, a small village close to where his family lived.
When settling in Minerva, Ruby first worked with computers for the steel industry. She later worked for several years for the State of Ohio State Treasurer’s Office when Mary Ellen Withrow was the Ohio Treasurer. She served as director of the Carroll County Board of Elections. Ruby served as president of Women in Military Across the Nation and was a member of the American Legion Post 357 and VFW Post 4120 in Minerva.
Ruby was very involved in politics. She grew up in a home that was politically split but has always been a Democrat. Ruby was a member of the Ohio Democratic Party; chairman of the Democratic Central Committee for 35 years; and president of the Federation of Democratic Women. After her children were adults, Ruby began seeking a seat as a convention delegate. She attended eight Democratic National Conventions. Her first one was in 1988. In 2016, Ruby, along with Clarissa Rodriguez of Texas, took the stage and led the delegates in the Pledge of Allegiance. The two women were the oldest and youngest delegates at the DNC that year. And at the time, Ruby stated she was not going anywhere just yet and planned to be a delegate for the 2020 convention and beyond.
Ruby is survived by a daughter, Rachel Wilson of Dayton; a son, William Gilliam of Minerva; granddaughter, Leticia Simonoff of Sacramento CA; grandsons, Douglas Campbell of Cambridge, Charles Campbell of Dayton and Justin Gilliam of Minerva; great-granddaughter, Madison Campbell of Cambridge; great-grandsons, Anthony Eves of Phoenix, AZ, Mason Campbell of Cambridge and Vincent Gilliam of Minerva; and a great-great granddaughter, Jordon Eves of Phoenix, AZ.
In addition to her parents, Ruby was preceded in death by her first husband, Capt. Darwin Cawdill; her second husband, Charles Gilliam; a son, Charles William Gilliam Jr.; four sisters, Tracy Cordeilia Allen, Mary Eva Webb, Virginia Mae Evarangiel and Marcella Craft; and four brothers, William Nathaniel Craft, Thomas Nixon Craft, Curtis Grant Craft and Joseph Ezra Craft.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 11 a.m. at Minerva United Methodist Church, 204 N. Main St., Minerva, with Rev. Scot Racut of Minerva United Methodist Church officiating. Burial and full military honors will follow at East Lawn Cemetery. Visitation will be held Feb. 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Minerva United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Ruby may be sent to Northeast Ohio Women Veterans Unite 21 (formerly WAVES) payable to: NEOWV 21, c/o Unit Treasurer, 3664 Brinkmore Rd., Cleveland OH 44121-1340.
Friends may express condolences at www.bartleyfuneralhome.com.
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