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.

8 Replies to “Ruth Ann Seabaugh 1947 – 2012”

  1. I’m shocked and saddened to hear about Ruth Ann’s accident and more recent death. Shocked because I imagine my old classmates to have all lived ‘happily ever after.’ And saddened because the world has lost a little sparkle. Ruth Ann was always had a smile and made you feel she was truly glad to see you. She was a lovely person and it sounds like she raised lovely daughters. Good for you, Ruth Ann!

  2. The first words that come to my mind as I look at Ruth Ann’s picture are “kind” and “sincere.” It sounds like she never changed. What lucky girls to have had such a wonderful mother.

  3. Kind and sincere, I think that hits it pretty good for Ruth Ann. Kids you guys had a great mom and she did own the street when she was marching!

  4. Even in high school, Ruth Ann was lovely inside and out. That she had the strength to overcome diversity while raising great kids is another dimension to her personality to honor. Heartbreaking that Ruth Ann left the earth so early, but inspiring that she accomplished so much in the years she was given.

  5. Ken, words can not express my gratitude for such an exemplary article on the life of my sister. Ruth Ann’s time at Cape Central was an extremely happy one. Reading the comments has brought tears of joy to my eyes … thanks for those comments. Jane, Ruth Ann certainly had tremendous strength in overcoming diversity she faced. Again Ken…….you are still impacting Cape Central as well as the many other endeavors you are encompassing.


  6. What a wonderful surprise to see these pictures. Aunt Annie was indeed a special one to me-a big sister I always wanted. She never failed to encourage and compliment me. She made me feel special and growing up I wanted to be just like her. As an adult I assure you my own mother is truly my inspiration, but as a child and teen, moms are moms. During those years Aunt Annie was the one I admired for her beauty, spirit, and spite. Now I admire her for so much more. My cousins are her legacy and I am so proud to see what they have accomplished to Annie’s and their own credit. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Ken, just want to add another note……this article of Ann was requested just a few minutes ago. Thanks again for your preservation of history.

  8. Please let me know of anything about the Seabaugh’s, Bess’s, Langstons or any branches that run off of these 3 lines.
    Thank you so much

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