Mrs. Ruth McGillicuddy, age 92, passed away on Saturday, March 1, 2014. She is survived by her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Denise (R. Kim) Prater of Terrytown, LA, and son Cornelius J. (Ann) McGillicuddy II of Phonecia, NY and seven grandchildren, :Katie" Prater of San Francisco, CA, Mary (John) Sisk of Elkmont, AL, Bridget Prater of Hattiesburg, MS, and Douglas J. Prater of Ruston, LA, Cornelius J. III, Finn A., and Oliver T. McGillicuddy, all of Phonecia, NY and her two great grandchildren, Mason and Kane Sisk. She is also survived by nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her oldest daughter, Carole Ann (Kelvin) Vanderlip, and her mother, Mrs. Allie Belle (A.B.) Green; father, Abraham B. Green; her four sisters and brothers in law, Edna (Tom) Henderson, Annabelle (Bill) Powers, and Bessie (Francis) Thompson, Willie Dee (Robert) Watson; brother, Howard Green and ex-husband, R.J. McGillicuddy, father of her children.
Mrs. McGillicuddy had resided at Woldenberg Village in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Our family wishes to deeply and gratefully acknowledge, and sincerely thank, all of the Angels and their entire Village of Woldenberg who loved, cared, and raised her in the twilight of her years. They are THE finest caregivers in the world and truly deserve the title of "The angels of Woldenberg Village."
Our family owes a profound and heartfelt thank you to the conscientiousness and kindness of Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and his staff, who were responsible for retroactively and officially awarding her WWII medals by the Department of the Navy in April 2012, 65 years after WWII. We also wish to thank Governor Robert Bentley (R-AL) in honoring her with an official commendation, with the embossed State Seal of Alabama officially designating her as one of Alabama's last surviving WWII Navy WAVES.
During WWII, it was through the work of Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that women were allowed to join the different branches of the regular Armed Services in 1943 and not limited only to the reserves. Initially, at the beginning of WWII, my grandmother was not allowed to hang a Blue Star Banner in her window for my mother, as it was a practice limited to the servicemen. After WWII, women were not awarded their military medals for the WWII service, only servicemen. Mrs. Roosevelt put an end to the practices and fought for equal rights of WWII Service Women. As a result, the women who served in the WWII Armed Forces were referred to as "Eleanor's Girls". When Mrs. Roosevelt visited Hunter College (Women Naval Reserve Center) in the Bronx, NYC during WWII, my mother marched in review for her. While stationed in NYC, she was able to visit the original "Stage Door Canteen" which was located in the theatre section of NYC in Manhattan.
She attained the rank of Radioman 1/C during WWII working to decipher and send Morse Code messages to Commanding Officers at different naval bases. The Radioman rank has now been replaced with the IT (Intelligence Tech) rank.
Our family owes a debt of gratitude to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for allowing WWII Veterans and their spouses to use only their GI Benefits to earn their college degrees after the war. Living quarters were furnished for these first married college students and their children at the AlaVets Apartments, converted to Army barracks, two blocks from the present football stadium. There is now only a parking lot where they once stood. Mama graduated with her B.S. Degree in 1952 using her only WWII GI Benefits. She also graduated with a M.A. Degree in 1969 from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Thanks to her example and that of one of her Aunt's documented college attendance during WWI, The Great War, there are now four generations of female college graduates, three generations with Master's Degrees!
She was enormously proud to have served her country in its time of greatest need, was always cognizant of duty, honor, and country instilling in us a profound and abiding sense of patriotism. Hers was a small shining example of the generosity of spirit that her "Greatest Generation" bequeathed to all of us. They forged America into the greatest superpower in world history and we are all the beneficiaries of the freedoms in which WWII Veterans fought so gallantly. Her generation enriched this earth and embodied the magnificent role model of unselfishness, resilience, and kindness. May God bless all of our Veterans and let us never forget the gratitude we owe to each of them for preserving our freedoms.
She will be brought back to her Sweet Home Alabama for her final homecoming and be buried on St. Patrick's Day. Her WWII medals will be donated to the Alabama Veterans Museum in Athens, Alabama per her wishes. The family will receive friends on Monday, March 17th, from 9:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. with the Requiem Mass commencing at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Homewood, Alabama. Graveside and Military honors will be held at the Alabama National Cemetery at 1:15 p.m.
For the prequel to her story, please be so kind to:
1. Go to "Youtube.com
2. Type in "WWII Bracelet"
3. Look for "Mister Jones"
My mother would be genuinely honored for your consideration for charitable donations be sent to The National World War II Museum located at 925 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 or to the Alabama Veterans Museum located at 100 West Pryor Street, Athens, Alabama 35611.
FYI….My mother had curly red hair and hazel eyes. May father was dark complexed. She looked like Lucy. He looked like Desi. Whenever we said our last name of McGillicuddy, our family knew how much this nation loved "I LOVE LUCY!" "Lucy McGillicuddy" had became our mythological aunt! No doubt because of their resemblance to each other, my Mother will have to re-create the "Harpo" scene when she meets "Lucy McGillicuddy" in the sweet-by-in-by! (P.S. We know this is why you read Mama's obit! Hope you enjoyed it!)