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A celebration of life for Mrs. Ruby Lee Johnson Hutchinson, 87, will be 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. Interment will be in Kelly Springs Memorial Gardens. Mrs. Hutchinson will lie in state at the church one hour prior to the service.

On Monday, June 10, 2019, God sent his Angel to call home our beloved matriarch, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, cousin, and friend, Ruby Lee Hutchinson.  While we loved her dearly, God, who had shared her for 87 years, was ready to bring her home.  Having served her time and completed her earthly duties, she peacefully relinquished her tasks and accepted God’s invitation to journey to her heavenly home.

Ruby Lee Hutchinson was born on April 4, 1932 in Talladega County, Alabama to the late Fannie Cassabelle Williams and Raymond Johnson, Sr.  She was born in the middle of the Great Depression, which for many Alabamians lasted well into the 1940s.  Like so many Southerners, Ruby’s family lived on the edge of poverty, but had plenty of love, an abundance of tenacity, hard-work to spare and boundless grit.  Ruby would benefit from these qualities in her future years.  At a young age, her mother died giving birth to her sister and as a result Ruby was raised primarily by her uncle and his wife, the late Samuel “Frisco” Williams and Eta Bell Williams Ragland who she called daddy and big momma.  She was guided into adulthood by her beloved aunt, the late Mae Ola English. She rarely spoke of the hurdles and heartache she faced losing a mother at such a young age. But she frequently spoke of the love extended to her by her mother’s siblings.  How they loved, directed, helped and encouraged her for most of her life. 

Ruby was a vivacious woman and had an intense passion for cooking and enjoying good food. Those who did not know her would never have assumed that this mild mannered lady who spent many Sundays standing guard at Greater Ebenezer’s backdoor, wearing white gloves and whatever Usher uniform they had agreed upon that year, was one of, if not the very best cook in all of Talladega.  She would often share her culinary delights during the church’s homecomings or in the olden days at one of the famous women’s auxiliary or the Matron’s Teas. 

It is no wonder that Ruby’s passion and love for food led to her lifetime work- cooking at the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind (AIDB) for over 40 years.  There she made lifelong friends and developed a stellar reputation for being a stand out cook. She mastered both savory meals and pasty delights.  The Deaf School had constant visitors including many local and state dignitaries.  Ruby was often called upon to prepare something special for these dignitaries, including state and federal congressional leaders and they all knew that with Ruby in the kitchen their meal would be superb. Ruby was not just a cook, a good cook, or even a great cook, she was The Cook!  Now, our Aunt Mae may take issue with that statement, but now that they are together, the two of them can settle that debate with a heavenly bake off. 

 

Whether it was at The Deaf School or Camp McBride, where she worked for over 30 years, or in the community, you could always depend on Ruby to cook you a warm and delicious meal during your time of challenge. We packed up many full meals to families suffering from their own losses or just having a hard time.  Ruby loved Chicken and dressing- her specialty.  She often told stories of how she thought the only part of the chicken that was edible was the feet, because as a child, that was mostly all she was given. So, she made it her life’s mission to make sure that no one in her family or otherwise went without a meal, or were forced to eat just “chicken feet”.  That is one of many reasons Ruby was greatly loved. 

By now it should be perfectly clear that Ruby had a life-long love affair for good food and desserts.  Sitting in her living room or on the front porch enjoying a slice of delicious pound cake or piece of pie that she had just taken out of the oven was one of her favorite things to do. That and talk on the phone.

Whoever was there when the warm pound cakes were freshly sliced or juice from the blackberry cobbler bubbled over, would find themselves in love with the dessert of the day- its intoxicating scent and wonderful flavor.  No one could cook better than Ruby Hutchinson- she knew it and everyone knew it.  In another time she could have easily opened and owned restaurants across the south and dare we say the world. But that would be her life and she was happy being a local celebrity.

But being a great cook was only one layer of who Ruby was.  She was a proud and stoic mother who did not mince words – she said what she meant, clearly and simply.  She was generous yet firm, she loved fashionable and beautiful clothes, but was just as comfortable in an old t-shirt and worn shoes.  She was a strong woman – she had to be to birth and raise 16 children. She did not believe in sparing the rod, and the only thing that spoiled the Hutchinson bunch was her great cooking.

Ruby was unabashedly dedicated to her family, who she always tried to put first.  While she appreciated that a strong and loving family was a fundamental building block of society and civilization, she never pretended that she was perfect. She acknowledged that as with most humans, she was flawed, but always tried to do her best.  She did not always get it right, and often wished for one or two do-overs.  But what she did know, was that family life is where we learn the habits, emotional response, obligations, and values that shape us as adults. And while she was not one to check homework, or help with a science project, she readily taught her children and grandchildren to love ourselves and each other, to bear one another’s burdens, to be hard-workers, and to remember that our lot in life could be worse. And yes, a piece of pie makes most things better.

Even after her children and grandchildren left for college, to join the military, or to explore the world on their own, Ruby’s home remained a hub for family and friends who were her love and joy.  It was common to hear someone say, ‘what yo’ momma cook today’ or ‘Ms. Ruby mind if I get a plate’? And she would never mind - her kitchen was always open, and everyone was welcome.

We will remember our beloved mother and grandmother for the strength, compassion and courage she demonstrated throughout her life.  She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.  Ruby was preceded in death by her parents, Fannie Cassabelle Williams and Raymond Johnson, Sr.; her aunts and uncle who served as her caretakers Samuel “Frisco” Williams, Eta Bell Williams Ragland, and Mae Ola English; her husband, Julius Hutchinson; sons, Jimmy Lee Hutchinson, Roosevelt Hutchinson and Billy Joe Hutchinson; daughter, Brenda Gail Hutchinson; granddaughter, LaTionja Renea Robinson; two grandsons, R. Jackson and Daquarius Brown; sisters, Essie Lee Carr and Barbara Williams; and brother, Raymond Johnson.

She leaves to cherish her fond memories, her six loving daughters, Juanita Robinson, Willie Alma Wallace (Tiran), Annie Francis Hutchinson (Buddy), Joyce Anne Maddox, Teresa K. Bell (Steve), and Sharee C. Hutchinson; six beloved sons, Johnny Hutchinson, Melvin Hutchinson, Anthony Hutchinson, Toni Hutchinson, Darren Hutchinson and Spencer Hutchinson; sister, Brenda Williams and brother, Pearly Johnson; 31 grandchildren; 64 great-grandchildren; a number of  great-great grandchildren and a number of cousins, other relatives and dedicated friends.

The community loses a good friend and neighbor; the church a worthy member; and her family, a strong, loving and dedicated matriarch. But our loss is Heaven’s gain – as the heavens welcome its brightest star and most talented cook! 


Mrs. Ruby Lee Johnson Hutchinson
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  • Friday, June 14, 2019
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ Terrys Metropolitan Mortuary
  • Monday, June 17, 2019
    My heart goes out to the Hutchinson family. Mrs. Ruby was always so friendly. No matter where we ran into her, she would take the time to hug and talk for a few minutes. It always felt good to pass her house and sometimes seeing her on the porch. Passing by her house will not feel or be the same anymore. God has blessed and will continue to bless you all.
    ~ Tan Jordan   Decatur, GA
  • Friday, June 28, 2019
    My sincere condolences to the family for your loss. May you find comfort in knowing that that ALMIGHTY GOD cares for you; and that you can see your loved ones again free from all the causes of death and the heartache it brings. (John 5:28,29 - Revelation 21:3,4) Jehovah God assures us that there is going to be a resurrection of our loved ones back to a paradise earth. What a wonderful hope to look forward to! May family ,friends, prayers and the many memories help you through this difficult time.
  • Sunday, June 30, 2019
    To the family and friends: please, accept our sincere condolences for the loss of your loved one. You can find comfort in the Bible account found at John 11; Jesus said to her: “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him: “I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life". Please find more information about this beautiful promise at jw.org.
    ~ R&R Lopez