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Ruth Imogene Harris was born January 17, 1919 to William Riley Harris II and Vera Edith (Welsh) Harris, on the home place south of Kenoma in Barton County, Missouri.  She graduated from Lamar High School and attended Springfield Teacher's College.  After graduation, she taught at a rural school for three years.  She married Andy Howard Davis, one of ten children, in Columbus, Kansas May 22, 1941, when she was 22 and Andy was 28.  Andy farmed until that year but then went to work for his brother, Bill, in his furniture and appliance store. The next year he went into the Army, becoming part of the 535th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, a group of less than 850 men that served together for 4 years and participated in some of the major campaigns of WWII, including the Invasion of Europe and the Battle of the Bulge.  Since Andy and Ruth had not yet started their family, Ruth was one of the wives referred to as camp followers.  A history of the Battalion, published in 1971, includes the following paragraph:

 

For a number of the married men of the Battalion, North Carolina provided the last sampling of a home-type life before going overseas. Wives from all parts of the United States followed their husbands to the Eastern coast.  Mrs. Andy Davis, wife of an A Battery man, said a considerable number lived in Wilmington and also in beach houses at Kure's Beach.  Her own experience included a short time upstairs above a bear joint at Carolina Beach. "I went to sleep to music of the nickelodeon and woke up with the nickelodeon," she said.  In Wilmington, she said, the service club at camp was "our salvation."  The food was good and inexpensive there, and the place was warm.  Wives spent a lot  of time there, according to Mrs. Davis.

 

After organizing in California in October 1942, the men finally set sail for Europe in February 1943.  While Andy was overseas, Ruth spent time in California and Texas with her sister Corrine, working for the Texas & Pacific Railroad in Dallas.  When Andy returned home in 1945, he once again worked at his brother Bill's furniture and appliance store.  Andy & Ruth welcomed their first child Alan, on April 4, 1947.  In 1949 Andy was elected County Treasurer and Ex-Officio of Barton County and served for 11 years.  Ruth was a homemaker until she went to work part-time in 1952 as Andy's deputy in the Treasurer's Office, when Andy was temporarily and partially disabled by a fall.  That was the same year, second son Mark was born,  on July 28, 1952.  Andy planned to retire from politics at the end of his third term and return to farming.  However, June 15, 1960, at age 47, he suffered a fatal accident on their farm west of Lamar.  Ruth was just 41 and Alan and Mark were 13 and 7.  After Andy's death, Ruth worked at the Lamar Clinic and MFA Insurance Agency.  In 1969 she attended the third reunion of Andy's Battalion in Estes Park, Colorado.  Ruth continued to attend the army reunion over the years.  Having been one of the camp followers, she had made many friends with whom she kept in regular contact.  On her way home from Estes Park, Ruth stopped in Wichita, KS to meet the parents of Alan's girlfriend Connie Ehrlich.  Alan and Connie were married in December of that year and Ruth gladly welcomed another female into the family.

In April 1970, Ruth's father Bill Harris died and her mother Vera came to live with her.  In the fall of 1970, Alan went into the Army and Connie spent her last semester of college living with Ruth, while doing her student teaching at the Lamar Grade School.  Shortly thereafter, Ruth was elected Barton County Clerk and served 1970-1974. In 1975 she became a librarian for the Town and Country Regional Library in Lamar and retired in 1984.

Ruth's life was very active until he health forced her to slow down.  While working full time, she managed to put her two sons through college and participate in a bowling league and Eastern Star.  There sere many trips including those to Branson, Niagara Falls, Hawaii, and a short cruise with Connie's Mom to the Bahamas.  Even in later years, she was a regular bridge player at the Senior Citizen's Center. For many years she spent several months at a time with her son Mark in Dallas and most holidays at her son Allan's home in Kansas City.

Ruth is survived by a son, Mark Davis; one brother Bob & Norma Harris; and a daughter-in-law Connie Davis.

Ruth was preceded in death by her father and mother, Bill and Vera Harris, brother Bill Harris, sister Corrine Smith and Virginia Sweeney and son Alan Davis, March 16, 2006.

Graveside service will be 2:00 pm Thursday December 27, 2012 at Lake Cemetery.

Visitation will be 1:00 to 1:45 pm Thursday at Daniel Funeral Home.

Contributions are suggested to Barton County Library in care of Daniel Funeral Home.

Condolences may  be left at www.danielfuneralhome.net

 

Comments  

#1 Richardson, TXSusan & Steve Harris 2013-01-30 13:12
May our dear, sweet Aunt rest in peace in her eternal home. We cherish many fond memories of our times with Ruth and will miss her dearly.
Our generation of the Harris Family is so grateful to her and Aunt Virginia Sweeney for their efforts in compiling the Harris and Welch family history (long before websites were available for assistance!).
Family was so important to Ruth. We smile as we think of her reunion in Heaven with all who have departed.

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