Ruth T. Blanco, 84, of Port Arthur, Texas passed away at her daughter’s home on Sunday, October 16, 2022, after courageously battling Alzheimer’s for many years.
Ruth was born on June 16, 1938, to Howard K. ‘Buddy’ and Mildred M. ‘Maw Maw’ Thorla in Good Pine, Louisiana. They moved to Texas before her little brother was born. As part of the drumline and marching band at Stephen F. Austin High School, she received many ribbons and metals at UIL Solo and Ensemble contests. After graduating in 1956, she attended Port Arthur College and received her stenography diploma in June 1957.
Ruth worked as a secretary at Gulf Oil for more than 10 years and was on the cover of Gulf Oilmanac in September of 1959. Throughout Ruth’s professional career, she worked for Gulf, Mobil, and then Texaco. After 21 years and numerous friendships, she retired from Texaco Research and Development, where she earned the Research Star award while working with Dr. Eugene Dai. Ruth’s laugh and smile were contagious. It was a positive outlook and a sense of humor that made the 7 ½ month strike of 1982 bearable. Many R&D friends have gone on before, and oh what stories they could tell. The friends still with us have taken a vow of silence.
Her generous and giving personality led her to participate in Meals on Wheels, a United Way supported charity. Although the initial involvement was through Texaco, Ruth would make fruit and gift baskets during Thanksgiving and Christmas to distribute to her elderly friends. One grandchild remembered making these special deliveries and cherishes those memories.
The old red gumball machine that sat in her office with an endless supply of pennies on top, reminds another grandchild of how sweet Ruth could be. Grandchildren rarely went home without a toy, new clothes, or a blizzard at least!
Anyone who knew Ruth well, though, knows sweet wasn’t the only facet of her personality. Another grandchild remembers John Wayne movie marathons, and whether it was Big Jake or McClintock, we all can see Ruth in the rough, tough, tell it like it is westerns.
Ruth also shared a love of sports with her grandchildren, and one grandchild fondly remembers an Astros game where Jeff Bagwell clocked a foul ball right into the neighboring seat!
From charity to sweets, from westerns to sports, Ruth’s interests spanned the gamut. In all things though, Ruth loved her family most. Another grandchild remembers a comical night when Ruth ‘camped out’ in a back bedroom. There may have been some grumbling involved, but Ruth enjoyed the company of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren more than anything, especially in her later years.
Tammye, Ruth’s daughter, remembers hilarious moments and duels of wit between Ruth and her siblings, Carolyn, Wilda, and Buster. Maw Maw, Ruth’s mother, would shake her head and laugh. With family jokes and puns at every watermelon seed-spitting backyard-barbecue, Tammye learned at an early age, “You cannot repeat everything you hear.”
Tammye Ruth Knowles, her daughter, and husband Mark are left here on earth to cherish their time and precious memories with Ruth.
Equally close to Ruth’s heart were her grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Jeff and his wife Amanda and their sons, Conner and Dawson; Clay and his wife Macey and their daughter Cora; Josh and his wife Lindsey and their sons Kyler, Jaxon and Jenson; Laura and her husband Jordan and their children Payton, Baylor, Jentry, and Marli; Rachel and her husband Wyatt.
She is also survived by her siblings: Carolyn Richard and her husband Gary, Wilda Hanson, widow of Ervin, and Howard K. ‘Buster’ Thorla Jr. and his wife Linda.
Visitation will be held at Melancon’s on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 from 5pm to 8pm. A Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2022 at 10am with a private interment at Oak Bluff Tranquility Mausoleum.
Pallbearers are Jeff Lake, Clay Autery, Josh Autery, Rev. Jordan Grindle, Rev. Wyatt Weir, and Conner Lake.
A special thanks…
To the team at Altus Hospice and especially Kami and Cassandra for the endless conversations, care, and support.
To Oak Grove and their therapy and nursing team for rehabilitating Mom after anesthesia and hip surgery.
To our church family at Abundant Life Sanctuary in Groves for the prayers, love, calls, meals, and other random acts of kindness. We are blessed to be a part of such a fabulous group of believers.
Palestine - Rusk train rides, fields of bluebonnets, Coca-Cola memorabilia, Windbergs, antique flea markets, pink glass… None of it will be the same, but it will bring sweet memories of you, mom. I love you, and will always be your little girl, Tammye.