Ruth Ann Seabaugh 1947 – 2012

1968-04-24 Advance Advertiser Ruth ann Seabaugh 02While rooting through a box of crumbling clips, I discovered this 1968 Advance Advertiser with Ruth Ann Seabaugh’s photo on the front page. She and two other young women were finalists in the Miss U.S.A. Beauty Pageant held in the Advance High School gym. I scanned the photo and sent it to her sister, Mary Francis and her daughter, Leslie Stewart.

The two women and I had exchanged emails when I mentioned Ruth Ann in some earlier stories. Mary answered almost immediately, saying the timing quite a coincidence: Ruth Ann died on March 5, 2012.

An extraordinary woman

Homecoming 34I’ve written before about how majorette Ruth Ann owned the street when she strutted down it. She had a presence you don’t see in many young women of that age. I didn’t realize exactly how powerful a woman she was until her daughter, Leslie sent me an email last year:

That’s the remarkable thing about finding your page…She is in print again. It feels like she isn’t forgotten and that feels wonderful.

Mom was hit by a drunk driver in 1979. I was 6.  He T-boned her car as he ran a stoplight doing 80mph.  She survived because the accident occurred right in front of a hospital. She was leaving a doctor’s appointment.  She was in a coma for 9 months and ultimately in the hospital 2 years before she could come home.  She was a very determined and tough-minded person.  Because she spent the rest of her life disabled, most people didn’t see her beauty.  That’s another striking thing about finding these pictures.  You captured her, and I can tell you really did get it.  I can also tell you’re an excellent writer, something I really admire. [Editor’s Note: Insert blush here.]

Daughters went into military

Central High School Band and majorettes in paradeMy sister and I both went into the military after high school. I went into the Air Force and my sister went into the Army. People wondered about that and thought maybe it was some male influence that drove our success.  My sister was the first female allowed to deploy in the field with the “Big Red One” as an Intel Analyst.  I was Airman of the Year for the 1st (now 16th) Special Operations Wing my first year in the service.  Mom was the one who modeled determination and resourcefulness for us. Nothing stopped her. Nothing.  

She endured a lot, alone. Even disabled, she returned to work as a nurse for a nursing home for a time. It meant she had to give up some of her social security benefits but she liked helping people.  She was a hard worker and she taught her girls the same.

I eventually got a commissioning program and studied Human Factors at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  I became an Aerospace Physiologist in the Air Force, went to pilot training and got to fly jets until God called me to the Church.  

I graduate with a Masters of Divinity from Southern Methodist University on May 17th. I’ll be ordained in the Episcopal Church in June.

I’m a little nervous, but seeing these pictures of mom leading a band down the street reminds me I have no reason to be.  I was formed to lead by someone who did it very well.  Thank you, Ken.

 Ruth Ann’s obituary

1965 Central High School majorettesRuth Ann (nee Seabaugh) Jahnssen, passed away, Monday, March 5, 2012.

Loving wife for 29 years of John Jahnssen; devoted mother of Makaden “Laura” Nite and Leslie Ann (Mike) Stewart; loving step mother of Sherman (Jan), Jimmy Lee (Sally) and Sandra Dee Jones; dear sister of Mary Jane (and the late Alvin) Francis, Pyrtle “Buck” ( Joanie), George (Edie), Delores (Orville) Krauss, Doug (Marie), Marlene “Boots” (Edgar) Schott, Harold “Butch” (Linda), and Kay (Ronnie) Thiele; loving aunt, cousin, and friend to many.

After college Ruth Ann began her career as a teacher, and then became a registered nurse, serving the St. Louis community for over 20 years.

Interment: Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Siteman Cancer Center Washington University, Campus Box 1204 St. Louis, MO 63105-2161.

Leslie added some details in an email: “the obit failed to mention my son, Ryan, and also mom’s step-grandchildren.  Mom died of brain cancer but she was herself until the day she died. When she was diagnosed they gave her 3-6 months but she made it 18 months from the diagnosis.  She was really something!”

More photos

You can see more photos of Ruth Ann in these posts.

The Heritage Trio

Crystal Lander - Jackson and Anna Nice - Cape- 11-01-2013I posted a shot the other night of a couple of young women playing a guitar and singing on Water Street.

Well, with my readers, you never know what kind of memories are going to get triggered. Brad Brune posted a long, hilarious account of his musical career that I’m going to let you read under the original story. You might have to press Ctrl-F5 to refresh your browser to see all the new comments.

To give you a hint at his prowess, after taking a test in his early grade school days and asking how he did, he was told, “Don’t worry, Bradley, Brunes are good at sports.”

Linda Stone weighs in

Heritage Trio Professional Picture revBefore long, Linda Stone Schrimsher said she had a photo of the The Heritage Trio, a band featuring Gary Fischer, David Hahs and Brad. Here’s what the boys looked like.

A more cleancut set of lads could not be found in Cape County. (Here is Brad today.)

Other stories about music in Cape



Mad Men of CHS

Folsom Spradling Mueller Sommers CHS 8For better or worse, for once I can identify all of the people in a photo.

Steve Folsom, son of journalism teacher Betty Folsom, is reading Mad Magazine. He possessed the most unique set of eyebrows at Central High School.

I dated one of his twin sisters, Linda, briefly. (The briefly part was her choice, as I recall.) She and sister Laura weren’t THAT hard to tell apart once you got to know them, but they played the Twin Game the first night I went to pick up my date. Her grandfather, standing behind them, took pity on me and quietly pointed to the right one.

Al Spradling III is next. He was a Tiger business manager.

The next two characters were my debate partners at one time or another. John Mueller and I had an undefeated season my freshman year.You can see other photos of John here.

Pat Sommers, at far right, had a propensity to declare himself Number One in almost every photo I took of him. He is a little more dignified these days. Actually, now that I think of it, I DID shoot a picture of him wearing a tie at a basketball game.

You can click on the photo to make it larger, but that’ll just show up all the dust spots I didn’t bother to retouch out.

Gary Schemel in 1964

Gary Schemel 1964When I photographed a casual Gary Schemel, right, chatting casually with a friend in the cafeteria in 1964 there was no way of knowing that he would be the first Central High School student to die in Vietnam.

When this picture was taken, the all-conference athlete, described by a teammate as “tough as steel” would have just about a year to live. He was born January 4, 1946, and died in Quang Tin Province September 26, 1965.

It’s worth going back to an earlier post I did about Gary to read the many comments from his friends, teammates and classmates. Robert Taylor, also in the Class of 1964, was killed in Dinh Tuong Province March 8, 1968.