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.

True Confessions

Central High School pep rally c 1965

I have a confession to make: I’ve been binge-watching Friday Night Lights, the TV series about high school football in a small Texas town.

“Why in the world are you watching that?” a friend asked. “You don’t even like sports.”

My only excuse is that I like the photography and lighting and it reminds me of the scores of high school football games I covered. I always said I would rather cover high school sports than college or pro games because the players are real. They may have grandiose ideas about getting rich in the future, but on Friday night, it’s all about playing for their team, their school (and to get girls).

High school soap opera

Central High School pep rally c 1965Think of Friday Night Lights as a soap opera set in high school. It’s kind of like Glee, except they don’t break out in annoying singing and cavorting. I hate lip synching, particularly when the actors over-emote and look like a poodle passing peach pits in the close-ups.

Anyway, I scanned this pep rally a long time ago, but held off running it because a lot of the negatives were in really bad shape.

Coach Goodwin wasn’t Coach Taylor

Central High School pep rally c 1965

NBC’s Coach Taylor character was a tough, but compassionate coach who managed to turn the role into an 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and was nominated for another one in 2010.

As a non-jock, I generally flew beneath the radar of Cape Central’s Coach Goodwin. I didn’t get to see his compassionate side. I shared some of my phys ed experiences earlier.

Narrow ties and white socks era

Central High School pep rally c 1965It looks like white socks and narrow ties were the uniform of the day.

I recognize some folks

Central High School pep rally c 1965I have the luxury of being able to blow up the film like it was a crime scene photo on a TV show. When I  enlarge it way, way up, I think I can pick out some of the members of the pep band: David Hahs, Lee Dahringer and John Ueleke. I’m pretty sure Joan Earley is sitting next to the band. You’ll just have to take my word for it. You CAN click on the photos to make them larger, but you won’t be able to take them up as much as I can with the raw film.

1965 Majorettes

Central High School pep rally c 1965The majorettes in the background were part of the Class of 1965, so these were probably taken in the fall of 1964 or early in 1965. I can’t remember when football season ended and basketball started. I don’t recognize the girls in the football uniforms.

If I hurry up and post this, I might be able to knock off the rest of Season 2 before I go to bed.





Central Majorettes 1964-65

I may have run one or more of these photos before – it’s getting harder and harder to remember what’s run and what hasn’t. Well, if I WAS going to repeat something, I can’t think of anything better than this. Click on the photos to make them larger.

This is the photo that ran in the 1964 Girardot.

Kneeling: Pam Parks, Ann Seabaugh.

Standing: Becky McGinty, Linda Maddux, Susan Seabaugh, Robin Kratz, Vicki Berry, Della Heise.

Alternate shot of the 1964 Majorettes

The order is slightly different, but you should be able to figure out who is who.

1965 Girardot majorette photo

This is one of those groupings that make it difficult to write a caption. Do you list them by row, by clockwise or do you do what the editor did and punt and just list the names.

Jane McKeown; Gwen Petty; Della Heise, drum major; Phyllis Metzger; Ruth Ann Seabaugh, head majorette; Toni Grose, Nancy Swan.

1965 majorettes in gym

We must have wanted to hedge our bets by taking a second shot inside the gym. Note: don’t shoot flash directly at a shiny ceramic brick wall. The light will bounce right back at you. Somebody must have helped line up this shot. I could have gotten them lined up, but I wouldn’t have come up with that toe-point thing.

Leading band down Broadway

Ruth Ann Seabaugh is in the lead. It must have been a day that warmed up. I see lots of folks in the crowd holding their coats and jackets. The boy second from the left seems to be checking out Toni’s ankles pretty closely.

Other majorette photos

Okay, Who Did It?

I’ve already done a page on the Red Dagger’s My Sister Eileen and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, so when I discovered these frames stuck in with a fire I shot in Ohio, I almost relabeled them and stuck them back in the file. Then I saw something that piqued my interest.

Whose car is this? Who did this nefarious deed? Their timing was good. I see one of the pages is from The Missourian’s Achievement Edition. That was usually the biggest paper of the year. Gaining entry to the car wouldn’t have been difficult. Most folks didn’t lock the doors and about half of them left the keys in the ignition.

Surely these guys didn’t do it

Principal Fred Wilferth and custodian James Criddle were on this roll of film, which means they were in the vicinity of the hooliganism, but they don’t have the guilty look of someone who has just stuffed someone’s car with a week’s worth of papers.

By the way, this film was in pretty bad shape, so I had a choice of spending hours spotting out all the flaws or pretending that the practice took place during a snow storm. I opted for the latter. In one frame there IS a cup flying through the air and water or some other liquid frozen by the strobe flash.

Gallery of the usual suspects

If I was a cop, I’d round up this gang of suspects from My Sister Eileen. I’m pretty sure that at least one of them would crack when you shined the bright light in their eyes. I bet you wouldn’t even have to bring out the rubber hoses. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the photo until you find the guilty person or persons.

Anola Gill Stowick was kind enough to provide a cast list when I ran the other story. I’m having the names run right now for wants and warrants. We should have this wrapped up in a matter of hours.

Chuck Dockins, Sally Wright, Sherry Harris, Larry Loos, Pat Sommers, Tom Spitzmiller, Steve Crowe, David Reimann, John Reimann, Rick Meinz, Jane Randol, Mike Daniels, Pam Parks, Mike Seabaugh, Steve Folsom, Anola Gill, Lee Dahringer, Don Mowery, John Magill, Preston Foster, Kenny Fischer, Vicky Roth, Jim Stone
Faculty Director – Kitty Hart, Jerrette Davis, Carl Meyer, Becky McGinty, Steve Strong, Marsha Seabaugh, Janice House, Hilda Hobbs, Martin Hente,  Bill Kuster, Tom Holt, Ralph Frye, Shari Stiver, Cheri Huckstep, Tana Austin, Diane Siemers, Betsy Ringland, Francie Hopkins, Ruth Ann Seabaugh, Beth Hayden, Judy Dunklin, Peggy Estes, Judy Brunton, Terry Hinkle, Robin Kratz, Marcia Maupin, Sally Nothdurft, Toni Starkweather, Bunny Blue, Mary Sudholt, Cheryl McClard, Emma Pensel, David Stubbs Ron Hill, Gwynn Sheppard Mary Rickard, Mary Jean Rodgers, Carol Klarsfeld, Dean Kimmich, Donna Eddleman, Marsha Harris, Martha Mahy, Paul Schwab, Amanda Ashby, Della Heise, Don Sander, Anne Buchanan, Ronnie Marshall, John Mueller, Pat Johnson.