Walter M. Ruby, Jr. died at his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on June 26, 2022.
He was born in Yazoo City, MS on March 19, 1927 to Mary Estelle Stricklin Ruby and Walter M. Ruby. However, his Stricklin grandparents and their ward, Roxy Rosenberg, were his primary caregivers. His grandfather, John Stricklin, was at one time the mayor and owned the local funeral home which passed on to his uncle when his grandfather died when Walter was four. Walter grew up working in the funeral home and making ambulance calls. He dropped out of high school to join the Navy where he was a hospital corpsman. He was always disappointed that WWII was over before he could be a part of any action.
Using the GI Bill and not anxious to return to working in the family business, he enrolled at Ole Miss where his mother had been Miss Ole Miss and his Uncle Pete Ruby had been a football All American. He was a proud member of ATO there. After graduation and working a few years in MS, he went to visit his younger brother John who was stationed at Ft. Campbell. He decided to stay in Clarksville, Tn. where he taught 7th grade and went to graduate school at Austin Peay and then ran the branch college at Ft. Campbell. Walter left Clarksville to work on a doctorate degree at UTK. He always said that he took a home improvement loan to fund that pursuit.
In 1960 he moved to Chattanooga to take a position at what was then The University of Chattanooga. He developed the counseling center and taught in both the psychology and education departments. He inspired a kind of loyalty with his students, and they remained in his circle of influence for years afterwards. Over the years he served on many boards or was a consultant to various agencies such as but not limited to the Governor’s Council on Youth, Orange Grove, and Vocational Rehabilitation. In 1969 when UC merged with UTK, he continued as an Associate Professor in the Education Department. Prior to leaving UTC in 1980 he transitioned to part time and did an internship in clinical psychology at Moccasin Bend. Walter found his calling as a self-employed school psychologist in Bradley County, Franklin County, and Hamilton County. For about five years prior to his retirement, he became an employee of the Hamilton Co. Board of Education as Supervisor of School Psychology. He continued as a contract school psychologist for several years after leaving full time employment and hated giving that up due to health issues. He absolutely loved working with children and their parents and his peers and he continued to hear from many of them about the differences he made.
Retirement gave him the opportunity to continue to be a voracious reader, enjoy music and art, paint primarily watercolors, travel, become a master gardener, and learn and practice tai chi.
Walter was a man of strong faith and had been an active member of TEC. In the mid 2000s he affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church and was ordained first as a deacon and then a priest. He and others formed St. Andrew’s Chapel on Signal Mountain.
Walter was grateful for the care he received from Drs. James Stanko and John Stone and their staff, Guardian/Accent Home Care, and Hospice of Chattanooga.
Survivors are his wife of 49 years, Nancy Belk Ruby, sons Chris, John (Carmine), Michael (Donna), and Peter, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
At his request, there will be no service.
The family would be honored if you are so inclined to make a donation in his memory to Metropolitan Ministries, 4001 Rossville Blvd., Chattanooga, TN 37407 or a charity of your choice. And like Walter, if you enjoy good Scotch, toast him with a wee dram. Slainte!
Services are performed by the Cremation Center of Chattanooga, 1345 Hickory Valley Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37421, 423 362-5999.