DAILY COMMENTARY
By Marc Campos




A Salute To Someone Special

RUBY SUE WILCOX CLIFTON Born April 20, 1910, in Houston County, Texas, Ruby Wilcox Clifton was educated in Grapeland, studied at Sam Houston State Teachers College and received a degree from the University of Houston. Her life was devoted to education. She served the Houston Independent School District for 38 years, finishing her career as Assistant Superintendent of Board Services. Her leadership helped the district through the difficult years of integration; she established a bridge to many communities and fought in Austin to establish single-member districts, ensuring that all segments of our diverse community had the opportunity to elect representatives who understood their particular needs. She was very active in educational organizations and received numerous awards for her service, including a national life membership in the Congress of Parents and Teachers. In 29 years of HISD Board meetings, she had a perfect attendance record for which she was honored with a commemorative plaque.

Her greatest pride, however, was her namesake Ruby Sue Clifton Middle School, which was dedicated in 1979. During her career, she was known as a very successful and determined lobbyist who fought for education, teacher retirement funds and credit union issues in both Washington and Austin. Few could keep up with her in the halls of the legislature where she never used elevators, always the stairs- she wouldn't let anything slow her down. Miss Ruby taught by example, and in her 70 years of service to our community, she was called upon again and again to provide her graceful yet strong leadership in times of need. She began her service to her church, St. Mark's United Methodist, in 1946. For 58 years, she contributed to St. Mark's in every capacity possible- from counting the offering on Sunday, to weeding the flower beds on Saturday morning, to serving on the Board of Trustees. She was honored to receive the Brother Ed Award from St. Mark's for her distinguished service. Most of all, she was treasured for living her faith every day. Through her life, others saw the grace of God and the power of faith.

Ruby's faith and courage was also evidenced by her work with the Houston Area Teacher's Credit Union, later known as First Educators Credit Union, where she was the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Board. She led the organization through the challenges that all financial institutions in Texas faced in the late 70's and 80's. Her skills and determination united the organization, leading it to overcome those challenges and grow into the strong institution that it is today. In recognition of her contributions, she was named Chairman Emeritus of First Educators Credit Union during a gala held in her honor. In 2003, the organization established the Ruby Clifton Scholarship fund, which is sponsored by an annual golf tournament. She was named the National Credit Union Director of the Year in 1994. She was a long time active and current member of the Houston Area Retired Teachers Assn. where she was honored as the first recipient of the Dr. Kate Bell Memorial Award for faithful and distinguished service. Miss Ruby also served as secretary of the Gulf Coast Association of School Boards for 25 years, organizing board training and meetings. She was a faithful member of Delta Kappa Gamma, the YWCA Board, the Greater Houston Youth Council and Texas Women in Action. Her recognitions and awards for service are numerous.

At the wonderful age of 94, Miss Ruby outlived many of her loved ones- her parents, G.W. and Elizabeth Patton Wilcox; her four brothers, Preston, Lewis, Ellis and Curtis; her sister, Middy Mae; and her husbands Thurman Raymond and Horace Clifton. Left to miss her dearly are many nieces and nephews but especially her friend, companion and niece, Gylene Wilcox. Her loss will also be deeply felt by those that she treated as family: Paula Arnold and her children, Lisa and Clark Martinson, Jenny Bennett, Rev. Dick White, Kelly Frels, Bill Young, Billy Reagan, Gary Tusa and many, many others who she mentored. Ruby Sue Wilcox Clifton passed away on the morning of Saturday, February 5, 2005. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to St Mark's United Methodist Church, Ruby Sue Clifton Middle School, Holly Hall Retirement Community or a charity of your choosing. Funeral services will be held at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, 600 Pecore in the Houston Heights on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. Burial will be held Sunday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m. at Bridges Cemetery in Henderson, Texas.

February 11, 2005, 9:00AM


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