Ruby Alma Barks Wilkening

Areas of Achievement: 
Community Building
Home Making

Honored By

Honored by: Women's Plaza of Honor Lead Team
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile, Small

Raised in Cape Girardeau, Missouri
B.S. Education (1940), Southeast Missouri State University
Mathematics teacher (1940-1942) Jackson, Missouri
Married Marvin Wilkening, 1942

A love of music and books. An avid outdoors woman, bird watcher, fisher woman. A community supporter and everyone's friend. A loving wife and mother. A golfer who "loved the view."

Ruby Wilkening was my mother. Her strong character and happy personality were partly genetic and partly forged in two traumatic experiences in her early life. When she was five years old, she was seriously injured when hit by a car. Her mother, Edna, determined that she would walk again, directed a stern rehabilitation which resulted in her complete recovery. Ten years later her father (formerly a popular mayor of their bustling city on the Mississippi River) died unexpectedly and plunged her life from the top of the social ladder to the bottom as one of two daughters in a struggling single parent household. After a long period of despair, her mother rallied and sheer determination took over. Ruby, her mother and her sister went to the college just up the street together in the 1930s. Ruby graduated in 3 years in the top 10 of her class. So it was that Ruby believed that life should be enjoyed in the moment and one should never look back. Ruby married after teaching for two years. It was a love match for a lifetime and provided her with varied experiences such as wilderness hiking, building a log cabin with her husband, traveling around the world. Daughter of a politician, she loved people and volunteered as Girl Scout troop leader, cataloger at the local library, fundraiser for the Santa Fe Opera and more. She never faced a challenge that she couldn't overcome with her determination, organizational talent and a good laugh.

Laurel L. Wilkening
May 2005