Ruth Annetta Ward McCann Cullen died on January 9th, 2020 in Fort Walton Beach from complications of a viral infection. She was born in Delight, Arkansas to Floyd and Lottie Ward on March 8th, 1937. Ruth was first married to her hometown sweetheart, George McCann, with whom she had three sons – Brad, Greg and Mark. She found love again with William “Bill” Cullen and together they owned a successful tax consulting business, Cullen Accounting and Tax Service, until their retirement.
For Ruth – a lively, curious, adventurous woman – retirement did not include slowing down. Travel was her passion and there were few places in the world she didn’t visit. She would sometimes stop to marvel at how a poor girl from a small town in Arkansas could walk on the Great Wall of China, sail around Cape Horn, study birds in Ecuador, cruise the length of the Amazon river, visit a cosmonaut training center in Russia, volunteer on a mission trip to Cuba, and eat bugs in Thailand. Even on home soil, she filled her days playing bridge, visiting friends, planning family gatherings, or attending Krewe of Columbus events. Sitting still never suited her.
She was looking forward to a cruise around the world with her loving companion Bill Wheat. Instead, she is on a divine journey, the most important of her life. She believed in eternal life and is touring a land more awe-inspiring than any place on Earth. And she is once again marveling at how a poor girl from a small town in Arkansas could travel to so wondrous a place.
She is preceded in death by her parents, brothers Leon and Brooksie, and husband Colonel William Cullen, Jr.
She is survived by her sons and stepchildren – Brad and Ida McCann of Destin; Greg and Michelle McCann of Shalimar; Mark and Michelle McCann of Key West; William III and Elaine Cullen of Tampa, Kelly Potter of Destin and Christine Cullen of Shalimar. Her grandchildren -- Chad Cullen of Tasmania, Australia; Max McCann (Ally) of Sydney, Australia; Laura McClernon (Patrick) of Norfolk, VA; Mia McCann (John) of Pensacola; Daniell “Axel” Potter of Destin, and George McCann and Brady McCann of Destin. She became a great-grandmother to Elizabeth Mary McClernon in 2018, and would have met her newest great-granddaughter in April of 2020. She also leaves behind sister-in-law Tomika Ward, and many beloved nieces and nephews. Finally, she says farewell to Bill Wheat of Fort Walton Beach, a man who brought her much joy and companionship at a time when she needed it most.
A memorial service will be held at Emerald Coast Funeral Home on January 19th at 2:00 pm. The family will receive visitors one hour prior to the service. A catered reception will follow at the Elks Lodge on Okaloosa Island. In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to Children in Crisis or a charity of your choice.
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