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Ruby Barnett Hodgens

October 15, 1919 - February 20, 2019

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Ruby Louanna Barnett Hodgens, 99, of Lynchburg, VA, died Wednesday, February 20, 2019.  She was wife of the late Reverend Joseph Curtis Hodgens.

Born October 15, 1919, in Sprott, Alabama, Ruby was a daughter of the late James Washington Barnett and the late Anna Geneva Taylor Barnett.

Ruby is survived by her daughter, Sarah H. Sydnor, and her husband, Walker P. Sydnor, Jr, of Lynchburg, VA, five grandchildren Hodge Bishop, of Tallahassee, FL, Taylor Bishop and her husband Paul Olsen, Tallahassee, FL, Curt Sydnor and wife Andrea Devening of Richmond, VA, Brantley Sydnor, of Jackson Hole WY, and Giles Sydnor of Lynchburg, VA, and one great grandson Fielding Dulaney Sydnor.  She is also survived by close friend and niece Betty Jean Hodgens Reynolds and numerous other nieces and nephews.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Martha H. Bishop, son-in-law, George E. Bishop, brothers, Roy and Floyd Barnett, a sister, Phoebe Hodgens and a dear lifelong friend Lois Ullery.

Ruby was born in a small farming community in rural Alabama called Sprott.  Her home was remote, and she spent much of her childhood alone, as there were no playmates nearby and her older siblings were grown and gone.  She began public school at Mount Olive Elementary which had three rooms, a large institution then by Perry County standards.  Ruby started driving the family’s Model T Ford at age eleven.  A favorite activity was driving down the red clay lane to the mailbox.  At age fourteen she began driving the school bus, which looked like a chicken coop on wheels.

The family had no electricity when Ruby was young, but they did own a battery-operated radio.  The neighbors would gather from miles around to listen to such favorites as The Firestone Hour.  Her young friends enjoyed the cowboy and singing shows, and the adults came to hear the Joe Lewis prize fights.

Ruby enjoyed her vast photo collection.  Among the most prized was a shot taken on the campus of Princeton University of her young husband Curt standing with Albert Einstein.

She always enjoyed “handwork” and constantly had a project going involving quilting, sewing or crochet.

She graduated from Felix High School, and her college years were spent at Alabama College for Women in Montevallo, AL.  In 1942 she married Joseph Curtis Hodgens, a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.  He was installed as Pastor of Plainsboro Presbyterian Church, USA, in Princeton, NJ.  He subsequently served churches in Johnson City, TN, Columbus, OH, Lauderdale by the Sea, FL, and Sedalia, OH.

Ruby was first and foremost a loving, dedicated wife and mother.  A profound Christian, she was devoted to her calling as a Minister’s Wife.  She poured herself into leadership activities involving church groups, Girl Scouts and various youth organizations.

The family extends heartfelt gratitude to the many caregivers involved in Ruby’s long life, including Centra Hospice, Westminster-Canterbury of Lynchburg, Elite Care, and The Williams Home.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be sent to The Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church, USA,

Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.

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