Ruth Roberta Lovejoy (1925 - 2019)
Ruth Roberta Lovejoy, born in Boston, Massachusetts on August 29, 1925, died on May 13, 2019, at Twin Cities Hospital surrounded by family and friends. The majority of her 93 years of life was spent loving and serving her family and her community, including particularly the elderly residents of Okaloosa County, Florida. Ruth Lovejoy’s life was an incredible and inspiring journey. Her roots in Ft. Walton Beach began in 1955, when she and her husband, James Curtis Lovejoy, built a cinder block home for their family of five while stationed at Eglin Air Force Base/Hurlburt Field. In 1960, James Lovejoy was killed in Boston by a drunk driver while returning home from active service at Hanscom Air Force Base. This tragedy occurred the day before daughter Kimberly’s first birthday and a month before Christopher’s birth. Ruth returned to Ft. Walton Beach as a single parent to five children aged 10, 8, 5, 1 and newborn. In 1968, Ruth enrolled in Okaloosa-Walton Junior College to attend an evening class with her daughter Deborah and renewed her passion for education. She ultimately attended the University of West Florida and, in all, earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Arts, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Welfare and a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Guidance, each as summa cum laude. Since 1977, Ruth Lovejoy has served as the Executive Director of Elder Services of Okaloosa County, formerly known as the Okaloosa County Council on Aging. Through her ingenuity and hard work, two unused hospitals in the community were converted into congregate living facilities to serve the elderly. The first, Twin Cities Pavilion, opened in 1981; the second, Crestview Manor, in 1982. In addition to the Meals on Wheels program, the Alzheimer Disease Initiative and Home Care for the Elderly program, Ruth Lovejoy spearheaded the incorporation of Okaloosa Coordinated Transportation in 1988 to provide needed public transport for the elderly and disabled in the community. Among the many unsolicited but well deserved honors bestowed on Ruth Lovejoy were her 1995 induction into the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame as its first ‘contemporary’ member, and the Christus Medicus Award presented in 2001 by Bishop John Ricard for her then “30 years of pioneering efforts in developing ways to keep the elderly independent in their homes and when necessary moving them into dignified assisted living arrangements encouraging them to live meaningful lives.” In 2004, she also received from Governor Job Bush the Governor’s Points of Light Award in recognition of her service to the community. In addition to her first love, James C. Lovejoy, Ruth was preceded in death by her parents (Robert Vincent and Ruth Dandrow), all of her siblings and their spouses: Dr. and Mrs Robert V. Dandrow, Jr. (Mary), Gloria MacIsaac (Jerry), and Joan Hottleman (Jerry), and her second husband, Horace D. Powers. Ruth is survived, and will be sorely missed by her children: Deborah H. Farmer (Larry), James B. Lovejoy (Christa), Nicole D. Lovejoy, Kimberly A. Fraley (Terry), Christopher W. Lovejoy (Susan), and Robert V. Powers (Meleisha); and her grandchildren: James M. Fraley (Rachel), Christopher M. Thomas, Meghann M. Queen, Matthew R. Lovejoy, Micah V. Powers, Nicole J. Powers, Eliana G. Powers, Emily H. Powers, Rosemary N. Powers, Joy Lyn Powers, Sheri Lozada (Angel) and Tabatha Marthers; and the great-grandchildren who brightened her days: James, Jack, Easton and Maximus Queen and Michael and Meredith Fraley. Funeral arrangements include Visitation on Friday, May 17, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home located at 161 Racetrack Road NW in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. A Celebration of Life Mass will be conducted on Saturday, May 18 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church located at 110 St. Mary’s Avenue, Fort Walton Beach, Florida The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Elder Services of Okaloosa County, 207 Hospital Drive, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, 32548. Expressions of love and sympathy may be placed and viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com
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