Mary Ruth Stuckey, 86, of Medora, was welcomed into heaven at 12:05 pm on Friday, December 4, 2020. She was surrounded by her family at Alton Memorial Hospital where she died from complications of COVID-19. Ruth was born in Essex, MO on December 27, 1933, the daughter of Bryan and Evelyn Lankford. She grew up the oldest of four children and learned the value of working hard, caring for others, the importance of integrity, and how to make much from little. At around 12 years old, Ruth accepted Jesus as her Savior and was always proud to share that it was the most important decision of her life. Ruth’s faith in Jesus became the greatest influence in every aspect of her life from that point on.
In 1954, Ruth married Donald Stuckey in Dupo, IL, and he survives. Their sweet love story would span 66 years and included times of joy, accomplishment, sorrow, and hard roads, but most of all devotion to one another, their family, and their faith. A typical visit to their home would grant memories of good-natured ribbing about how events had “actually” unfolded and sugary affirmations of life-long love. They held each other accountable from a mutual respect for one another and devotion to the Lord: they believed in each other’s best abilities and the steadfastness of God. Even after all of their years together, Don still looked at Ruth as if she’d hung the moon. Ruth and Don became the proud parents of four children: Richard (Candy) Stuckey of Brighton, IL, Cristie (Tim) Lewis of Troy, IL, the late Melissa (Harry) Clendenin of Sidney, OH, and Ericka (Tim) Uskali of St. Joseph, IL. She loved her children deeply and taught them to pray, trust God, forgive, give to others, set goals and strive to reach them, use their creativity, love music and the power of words, and to live their lives focused more on others than self. As it says in Proverbs 31:28, “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” This is indeed true of Ruth’s life. One of her greatest joys in life was that of being a grandmother to Sarah Vogelman, Jesse (Colleen) Stuckey, Shaun (Chelsea) Stuckey, Andy (Kasey) Lewis, Valerie (Justin) Orr, Lindsay (Andrew) Bowen, Brad (Erin) Lewis, Gail (Daniel Hoy) Clendenin, Nate Clendenin, Jalee (Stuart) Helmuth, Sam Clendenin, Mike (Briana) Uskali, Aaron Uskali, Amber Uskali, and Isaiah Uskali. Ruth also adored being a great-grandmother to Henry Don and Julianna Vogelman, Gus and Ben Stuckey, Kyndle and Kason Stuckey, Brooke, Ryan, and Claire Lewis, Ezra and Isaac Orr, Charlotte and Jolene Lewis, Abby, Emery, and Rhys Uskali, and she was anticipating two more great-grandbabies who are on the way. She was always there to talk, listen, give advice or even a healthy dose of reality if you needed it. Ruth also shared a strong bond with her siblings Shelia Hester, the late Jim (Bonnie) Lankford, and Glenn (Janice) Lankford. She was preceded in death by her daughter Melissa, her parents, and her brother Jim, and we can only imagine the grand reunion that is happening with them in heaven today.
Ruth’s love of learning and children led her to go to college while raising her family in order to become a teacher. She was a devoted educator in the Jerseyville Community School District for 27 years and greatly impacted the lives of many students in her Special Education, 1st, and 2nd grade classes. Ruth had many gifts and talents and was known for her sewing, crocheting, quilting, and the many ways that she could tell a story and teach in such a way that minds were opened to new ideas and deep thoughts. Her table always had room for one more and her apple cake, mashed potatoes, blueberry pie, and other delicious foods were made from scratch, often without a recipe. She was also a longtime member of the local chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International of women educators.
Ruth’s name meant “compassionate friend” and that was always a true characteristic in her life. She loved deeply and would never fail to do all she could to provide for those in need, lend a helping hand, listen intently, and offer sound advice. Ruth lived her Christian faith each day and was an active member of her church, Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Medora. Her goal was to share the Gospel in as many ways as she could and as often as possible, and you couldn’t be around her without knowing that there was something different about her because she lived her faith each and every day. She was a Sunday School teacher until her death, served on numerous regional committees, coordinated countless mission projects, and was a leader in the Woman’s Missionary Union, leading efforts to pray and raise money for mission work that spanned the globe. After she and Don retired, they found a new focus and passion, serving in short-term volunteer mission work around the world with 18 mission trips on 6 continents in 14 countries and led countless people to Christ from Africa to Asia to South America and Eastern Europe and many places in between. They also served with Disaster Relief with the Southern Baptist Convention, responding to crisis and great needs around the United States, including work in New York City after 9/11. It was truly their joy to serve people together and share their faith in Jesus. Ruth fed into the lives of all she met and shared her life with them. She leaves a strong legacy, and her impact will be felt for years to come. Ruth will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
A celebration of Ruth’s life will be held on Thursday, December 10, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Medora with Rev. Timothy Lewis and Rev. Rob Cleeton officiating. The family will receive family and friends on Wednesday, December 9, 2020 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at the church. Funeral arrangements are in care of Anderson Family Funeral Home. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, face coverings, social distancing, and capacity guidelines for religious services will be followed.
Memorials may be made to Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church or the Southwestern Foundation for Educational Excellence. Condolences may also be expressed to the Stuckey family at the funeral home’s website www.andersonfamilyfuneral.com .
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Ruth (Lankford) Stuckey, please visit our floral store.