Photography

Ruth (Weldon) PettyJohn

January 18, 1934 ~ May 16, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old

Ruth PettyJohn Obituary

Ruth Weldon PettyJohn was born in Cuero, Texas to Vachel (Tuck) Weldon and Margaret Smith Weldon on January 18, 1934.  She grew up on a ranch just outside of Yorktown, Texas, having fun riding horses and looking after her brother Stayton Weldon.  After graduating from Yorktown High School, she attended Texas Tech University where she met the love of her life, Marvin PettyJohn.  They married in 1956.  In 1963, Ruth and Marvin had a son, Stayton.  Ruth and Stayton experienced the mobile life of an oil field family as Marvin advanced in his career.  Each state Ruth lived in she used her teaching degree either to substitute or to teach full-time.  After living and working in 3 different states, Ruth’s family settled in Enid, OK where Ruth volunteered teaching bowling to special needs kids.  In 1983, Ruth relocated to Yorktown, TX after Marvin retired.  There she enjoyed refurbishing her childhood home with Marvin and became very involved with her church, First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown.  Ruth sang in the church choir and served as church Treasurer for many years.  Ruth and Marvin celebrated 61 wonderful years of marriage. 

Ruth exchanged this life for eternity on May 16, 2023.  She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband Marvin.  She is survived by her son Stayton and his wife Michele; her granddaughter Morgan and her husband Tyler; her grandson Austin and his wife Sydney; her great-grandchildren, Corwin, Hewitt, Eleanor and Maisie; her brother Stayton and his wife Mildred and many nieces and nephews.      

Visitation will be Friday, May 19, 2023 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM at Massey Funeral Home.  Funeral services will be Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 3:00PM at the First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown followed by a graveside service at Hillside Cemetery in Cuero.  The family asks that in-lieu of flowers, donations be made to Mercy Ships (MercyShips.org / Mercy Ships, c/o Amy Garlick, P.O. Box 2020, Garden Valley, TX  75771) or First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown (234 N. Church Street, Yorktown, TX  78164). 

In his book “Fully Human and Fully Alive” John Powell writes, “Fully alive human beings are alive in their external and internal senses.  They see a beautiful world.  They hear its music.  They smell the fragrance of each new day.  And…they taste the deliciousness of every moment.  Fully alive people have active imaginations, and they are able to feel the full spectrum of human feelings…wonder and awe…tenderness and compassion.  For such people, life has the color of joy and the sound of celebration.  And our world will always be a better place, a happier place, and a more human place because they lived and laughed and loved here!”

I first met Ruth Pettyjohn in the spring of 1991.  I was just about to enter my senior year at Austin Seminary when I came to Yorktown to lead a Sunday service.  After the service, Ruth and Marvin met me on the back steps of the church and asked me a question that would change my life for the better forever.  Ruth, in her warm southern drawl asked me, “Scott…we would like for you to preach every Sunday in the summer.”  I know this broke the rules.  Students weren’t allowed to serve steady church work, but really how do you say no to Ruth Pettyjohn?  I said yes, and for all our time together, Ruth and I were never afraid to color outside of the lines to serve this church with energy, imagination, and most of all…love.

When I look back on the life of Ruth Pettyjohn, it is clear that she lived fully alive and fully engaged in this world.  There is not a place in this church, there is not a place in this community, there is not a heart in her extended family that she has not touched with her enthusiasm, her compassion, her tenderness, and most of all her love.

Ruth led with her heart in everything she did.  In the community, she lovingly supported EMS, the fire department, Yorktown assistance ministry.  Ruth loved Yorktown with every fiber of her being and so appreciated the different organizations that helped serve its people. 

Here at the church, Ruth served as its Treasurer.  She had a unique system of keeping her books, but her integrity and passion for service were generous and boundless.  When Debby and I first started coming to Yorktown, Ruth and Marvin were the unofficial welcome wagon.  They knew quite quickly that the so-called way to “woo” me to Yorktown was through feeding me.  We ate at Mom’s Kitchen, Lilliannes, and Labaia.  Sometimes we’d have Podsims chicken.  We ate all over the place and not only did I enjoy the meals, but the fellowship was even better.  Ruth loved everybody and her unbridled joy was contagious and inspiring.  The minute Ruth entered a room, the spirit of that room changed for the better.  She simply radiated a joy that made each moment better! 

And what I loved about Ruth and Marvin was that they were always open to try new things here at the church.  When I suggested we sell gizzards at Western Days, Ruth was up to her eyeballs in gizzards.  When I suggested we take the kids to Florida, she went to work fundraising.  When I asked to have a basketball hoop installed in the Fellowship Hall, Marvin talked to John Oliver.  Marvin fixed broken windows with Bill Tapp.  And Ruth simply celebrated that the hall was being used in the community. 

Ruth never cared if this church was the biggest in town.  What mattered to her most is that this church made a difference in this town.  Ruth was always pushing this church to support local projects.   As her pastor, I simply hung on for dear life and let Ruth on the loose!  The connection that Ruth made with the church and this community will be one of her most enduring legacies.  Ruth was most proud of this church when it served the people of this community. 

And finally, where Ruth shined the brightest and love the fullest, was in her family.  Ruth loved her brother and his family.  I enjoyed many occasions witnessing the love and joy Stayton and Ruth shared together.  When their families got together, it was pure love and times filled with laughter and joy. 

Ruth loved her son Stayton and his loving family.  I remember hearing all about Stayton and his family.  Their involvement in their church.  Stayton’s beautiful voice.  I loved when Stayton came to Yorktown and sang in worship.  What I think I loved the most was sitting near the pulpit and watching Ruth listening to Stayton.  The look on her face while he sang was pure, pure love.  Stayton, your mom was so proud of you.  Proud of your faith.  Proud of your loving family.  So proud of the marriage you and Michelle have shared and she was such a giddy and proud grandma to Morgan and Austin. 

And there isn’t much that I can add, but I will say…I wish every marriage was as full of love as Marvin and Ruth’s.  I had a front row seat to their love story.  Not only were they happily married, they were the very best of friends.  Ruth was always so proud of Marvin; the work he did, the service he shared with the community.  But even more, she loved him for his high character and his goodness.  I believe Marvin felt the same about Ruth.  Together they shared a special, special relationship that inspired me and will forever!

I could talk on and on about Ruth, but I will leave you with one final story.  In the fall of 1996, I got a phone call that my grandma had passed away.  I loved my grandma.  She was such a big reason why I had entered the ministry.  I called Ruth to tell her because I called Ruth about everything.  Within five minutes, Ruth and Marvin pulled up to the church.  I went outside and Ruth wrapped her arms around me, told me how sorry she was for me.  Told me she loved me.  And then she said, “you get on the road.  You need to be with family.”  And then as only Ruth could do, she told me she would take care of everything.  “Scott…don’t worry about a thing and you take as long as you need to be with your family.”

A couple of days later I walked into the funeral home and there are flowers from the 1st Presbyterian Church, Yorktown.  I lost it.  Ruth had thought of everything including my feelings. 

When Ruth and Marvin asked me to preach for the summer, they changed my life forever.  I loved Ruth and Marvin and the two of them will never fully know just how much they have impacted my life and my ministry. 

But in my life, Ruth made me better.  She made me happier and being with her and serving along side will always be one of the greatest honors of my life. 

This community and our world is a better place because Ruth shared it with all of us.  I love you Ruth and will be forever thankful for you. 

You are invited to sign the online guest book at www.masseyfh.com

Arrangement by Massey Funeral Home, Yorktown, Texas 361-564-2900

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Services

Visitation
Friday
May 19, 2023

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Massey Funeral Home
779 N Riedel St
Yorktown, TX 78164

Funeral Service
Saturday
May 20, 2023

3:00 PM
First Presbyterian Church (Yorktown, Hillside Cemetery, Cuero)

Interment following funeral service
Saturday
May 20, 2023

Hillside Cemetery
900 N Valley St
Cuero, Texas 77954

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