Ruby Pearl (Goodgion) Yates died February 24, 2018, just shy of her 88th birthday.
She was born May 21, 1930, to Travis Homer and Bessie (Tarter) Goodgion in Trickham, in Coleman County, Texas. She was the twin of Reba Merle, and they were the youngest of six children – Hayden, Floyd, Violetta, Doris and the twins.
Ruby grew up on a farm of 180 acres. She treasured her rural upbringing but said it also presented its hazards. Once, when she was 10 or 11, she was about to leap over a “creeklet” of unknown depth when a blackbird flew to a nearby branch. She interpreted its cawing as telling her “No, no, no.”
And she didn’t jump.
That incident, or “miracle,” she called it, led her to listen to good advice, particularly from Jesus, whom she considered to be her closest friend. Other incidents of what she felt was divine intervention occurred throughout her life, she said.
She enjoyed recalling that she came “to know salvation at my mother’s knee when I was 10.”
She was the salutatorian of her six-student eighth-grade class at the Trickham school, before graduating from Santa Anna High School in 1947.
After high school, she came to Abilene and enrolled at Draughon’s Business College, where she learned valuable general business skills.
It was during her single days in Abilene that another miracle occurred. Discouraged in her faith walk, she said she was giving up on Jesus when, one day, at age 19, she saw a light at the end of her bed. That light transformed into Jesus, she said. He stood and beckoned to Ruby.
“He said, ‘Follow me,’” she said. And so she did, for close to 60 years of her life. Throughout those years, she loved her savior with all her heart and shared that love with everyone she met. She met life with a positive, can-do attitude, enjoyed working hard and approached life with creative ingenuity.
Her most-loved hymn was “Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know.” Among her favorite scriptures was Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you.”
Her business skills led her to jobs, first heading the mimeograph office at Hardin-Simmons University, then landing a job as an assistant bookkeeper at Hendrick Hospital.
After attending Draughon’s, she enrolled at Hardin-Simmons in 1951. A boyfriend at the time, she said, encouraged her to go to college and use her job skills to pay for her education.
Homesick at times and lonely, though she dated, she said she told Jesus “Father, I think I won’t get married.”
He asked her what it was she wanted. Looks weren’t important to her, she answered, but she did want a man who was smarter than she was, something of a leader and a Christian.
Not long after that, Jack Yates came into her office at HSU. That visit led her to say to herself, “I think I could like him.”
The Abilene boy – handsome, by the way – caught her eye and impressed her with his confidence and sense of humor. As a freshman, she said she was amazed one day in chapel to see him on stage, and asked others why he was there. Don’t you know, they said, he’s the president of student government.
It seemed unlikely to her that a senior would have interest in her, but he did.
They married Aug. 8, 1953, after his graduation and her sophomore year. He was one day older.
They moved to Austin, where he graduated from law school from the University of Texas and then joined the U.S. Army, eventually assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. While at Fort Hood, she worked in the office of a three-star general.
Jack served in the Army for four years, until 1958. While he was trained at Fort Hood, she attended college at Mary Hardin-Baylor. When he later was stationed at Fort Bliss in El Paso, she lived in Abilene.
She wanted to graduate from Hardin-Simmons, and did so in 1959.
Upon Jack’s retirement from the Army, she taught school for three years until daughter Britt was born, followed three years later by Holley. She did not teach after Britt’s birth, having told Jack she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. He agreed.
Jack worked for a time with his father, also an attorney, before opening his own practice at what today is the River Oaks location of First Financial Bank.
Ruby taught the girls beyond their public schooling, taking pride that by first grade each had a large vocabulary.
Their two-bedroom home on Washington Boulevard in northeast Abilene grew too small for a family of four, so the couple sought a larger home. They came across a house at the corner of South 12th and Amarillo streets. It was for sale but they didn’t have money to buy it.
Still, Ruby said, “If I could have any house I wanted, I’d have this house.” They prayed about it, but also told the homeowners that they would be interested in buying it someday.
That day came in 1974 and though they still didn’t have the money, they made an offer. And their prayers were answered when Jack landed a case that provided the down payment.
For more than 40 years, the two-story house was their home. Ruby loved working in the yard and decorating the house in cheerful, sunny ways.
“I enjoyed it so very much,” she said.
Meanwhile, she worked for her husband in the law office. She asked her “boss” for one favor, that being able to collect the girls after the school. When they were young, they were picked up and brought to the office, where they stayed in an adjacent room.
She worked for Jack for 36 years, until his death in 2009.
Ruby is survived by two daughters, Britt Yates Jones and her husband, David, and Hollye Yates Jaklewicz and her husband, Greg; and two grandchildren, Jaret Jaklewicz and Aubrey Jaklewicz, all of Abilene.
A service celebrating her life will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, at Victory Church, 2943 S. 6th, Abilene, Texas. The family will receive friends from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday at 1441 Sylvan Drive in Abilene. Burial will be at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday at the Trickham Community Cemetery near Santa Anna, Texas. Arrangements are under the direction of Girdner Funeral Home, 242 Elm Street, Abilene, 325-676-5000.
The family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to a favorite charity; to Abilene Meals on Wheels Plus, www.mealsonwheelsplus.com; or to Salvation Army of Abilene, www.salvationarmytexas.org/abilene.
Pictured left to right: Wayne Katz (Horse Show Committee Chairman), David Guion (Assistant Vice President), Shauna Forkenbrock (Public Affairs Committee), Will Eddleman (Scholarship recipient), Bill Jerman (Assistant Vice President), Bryan Cowan (Horse Show Committee Coordinator), Kevin Brown (Horse Show Committee Vice Chair).
SAN ANTONIO – The fifth annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Youth Rodeo event was held February 19th – 22nd . Youth of all ages from throughout Texas competed in twelve different events over the course of the rodeo – pole bending, barrel racing, goat touching/tying, breakaway roping, tie-down roping, calf touching, ribbon roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback bronc riding. These events allowed contestants to showcase their horse’s speed, their finesse with a rope, and their ability to work with their horse to excel to the top. Top competitors in each age division were rewarded with belt buckles, prizes, and award money. But, the winners of each event in the 16 – 18 year old age division were awarded with the grandest of prizes – a $10,000 scholarship. Scholarship awards for this year’s rodeo totaled $80,000 to help fund the future education of Texas Youth.
The fastest time in the goat tying event (7.73) came from Alexandria Cawthon and her horse Levi. Alexandria is a 17-year old senior at North Hill Private School in Rockwall, TX. Cawthon says Levi is her “one in a million horse,” having been blessed to be at this level of competition and win a scholarship from the San Antonio Stock Show. She plans to use this scholarship for her higher education at Cisco College where she will study Ag Business. After the awards ceremony, Alexandria expressed her thanks to her dad – she really couldn’t do it without him she says.
Another of the Youth Rodeo scholarship winners hails from Santa Anna, TX; Will Eddleman, a 17-year old junior, won the fast time in the Finals to secure the $10,000 breakaway roping scholarship. He and his horse, Obie, made it into the top-five of the long-go to advice to the Finals round. Having gone face to face with the ten best boys and girls in the finals, Eddleman was able to find his way to the top with a time of 2.03 seconds. Like Cawthon, Eddleman plans to use his scholarship to continue his education at Cisco College. There he says he is excited to complete a degree in Animal Science. Beyond rodeo, Eddleman enjoys hunting and showing livestock.
“I want to thank the Horse Show committee and volunteers for putting on such a great rodeo.” - Eddleman
The team roping event offered two $10,000 scholarships to each of the team members who put up the fastest time in the finals this year. J.D. Durso (header) and Blase Tucker (heeler) roped their steer in an impressive 7.75 seconds and was one of only four qualified times. Durso is an 18-year old senior from Alvin, TX and attends Lutheran South Academy. He is a member of the Runners and Gunners 4-H club and is also a leader in his church youth group. Durso plans to pursue a degree in Finance at Texas A&M University after graduation. He would like to thank his dad, God, his horse Freckles, and his partner Blase.
Blase Tucker is an 18-year old cowboy from Rosenberg, TX. He attends Needville High School where he is active in the Needville FFA chapter. Beyond roping on his horse Cookie, Tucker enjoys hunting and fishing. After graduation,
he plans to attend Wharton County Junior College to complete his degree before going to work for Centerpoint. He
can’t believe all of his practice paid off and he’d like to thank God, his family and Richard Gonzalez for their support
through it all.
“This scholarship is a testament that my roping, my luck, and my partner may be going somewhere. There is no
better feeling!” – J.D. Durso
The tie-down roping championship title was awarded to Cutter Carpenter of Athens, TX. Cutter and his horse, Zeus,
earned a time of 9.57, just 0.01 seconds faster than the second place finisher. Carpenter is just 16 years old and has
already won prestigious awards in the sport of rodeo, one of which was the 2017 Cody Ohl Junior World Champion
title. He plans to attend Sam Houston State University to study Agriculture after he graduates. Cutter would like to
thank his parents and his sponsors: E4 Ropes, American Hat Co., Rattler Strings, and OE Nutraceuticals.
Ryder York, a 17-year old junior at Goldthwaite High School, won the $10,000 scholarship for the ribbon roping
event. He made it to the Finals after filling the number ten spot in the long-go. He rose to the occasion in the Finals to
record a time of 4.74 and secure the scholarship he is blessed to have received. He would like to thank his lord and
savior and his parents for helping get him down the road to be successful in multiple events. Beyond rodeo, he is
involved in FFA where he enjoys showing pigs and judging livestock. After graduation, York plans to attend Texas
Tech University to study Animal Science.
The final winner may have earned the greatest feat of the entire day. Reagan Davis, a 16-year old from Alto, TX won
not one, but two events in the Youth Rodeo earning a total of $20,000. Davis won the long-go in the pole bending
and held onto that number one spot all the way through the Finals. She also recorded a fast time of 15.977 in the
barrel race Finals. Davis is extremely motivated to be successful in the sport of rodeo as she puts all of her time and
effort into becoming the best she can be. Her dedication has helped her fine-tune her horses into competitive
athletes, especially her barrel horse, Bex, who has only known the barrel pattern for a year. Although she knows she
wants to be an Equine Therapist, she is still undecided on what school she wants to attend after graduation.
“It means so much to be able to put this toward my college schooling! I cried after my runs. I want to thank God and
my family and friends for helping me achieve my goals.” – Reagan Davis
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo takes place February 8-25, 2018. It has received the PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year award
for 12 consecutive years. Established in 1949, it has grown to be one of the largest and most prestigious single events in the city with over 2
million visitors entering the grounds in 2017. The success of the organization is attributed to over 6,000 volunteers who give countless hours to
the organization. With community, donor and volunteer support, the organization has committed over $171.4 million to the youth of Texas
through scholarships, grants, endowments, auctions, a calf scramble and show premiums. For more information, visit www.sarodeo.com.