Ruby Jean Steed, daughter of the late Claude Emmett Cook and Cecil Mae (Robinson) Cook, was born September 16, 1936, in Salem, Arkansas. She departed this life on June 15, 2023, at the age of 86 years & 9 months. She was united in marriage on March 29, 1951, in Hardy, Arkansas to Charles Edward Steed, and was blessed with over 72 years of marriage. In the early 1960’s, Charles and Ruby started their business, Steed’s Grocery Store & Gas Station, being one of Thayer’s first convenience stores. They operated the store for two decades, working seven days a week, before Ruby decided to slow down and spend time chasing their teenage twin boys and their athletic schedules. Retirement did not last long, as Marion Morse (Morse Furniture) in downtown Thayer, asked her to take a part-time job selling furniture. Part-time turned into full-time, and in the mid-1980s, the Morse’s sold out to Chad & Barbara Butler (of West Plains) and formed Thayer Furniture. Mom learned the ropes from great businessmen such as Johnny Cox & Steve Honeycutt and continued working for the Butlers. She became Manager, which she held for 20 years. Ruby loved her job and took pride in picking out quality furniture. She loved the people she worked with: Johnny, Steve, and especially George Landis! Mom loved her customers and always knew what would sell best. She enjoyed store visits from various local business folks in town, especially from her pal Pat Freeman. Pat and Rosie were special people to our family. Pat’s tales and camaraderie brought her great joy. Annually, the Dallas TX market trip with Barbara Butler was a special event to order new furniture. Charlie always thought the only reason she worked was to cover her tab for what she wanted to buy for their home. Charlie knew a trip to the market meant a new piece of furniture! Mom was very grateful to the Butler Family for giving her that opportunity & they became the best of friends. Mom had a great eye for furniture and home décor, supplying thousands of families in the area with the best. In the early 2000’s Ruby finally decided it was time to retire, so she could spend more time with her children and grandchildren.
Ruby loved her church and her church family at the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. She was a member for over 65 years and served as the Treasurer for nearly 30 years. Ruby’s love for her children and grandchildren was endless. She forever looked forward to Christmas where she would buy everyone something special for them individually. Gram loved her family, and she would always have a meal prepared for them for holidays and never forgot a birthday. Gram Ruby was simply the best and we could not have asked for more, thus there is now an irreplaceable new void in our hearts.
Ruby is survived by her husband, Charles Edward Steed, and five children: Charles (Butch) & wife Donna of Thayer; Jerry & wife BJ of Mountain Home; Barbara of West Plains; Kevin & wife Lana of Mammoth Spring; and Kelly & wife Angela of Thayer. Ten grandchildren: Angi Littlejohn of Memphis; Becky (Rodney) Hallmark of Horseshoe Bend; Christina Mainprize of West Plains; (TJ)Thaddeus Jay (Beth) Steed of Ash Flat; Charli Steed of Springfield; Jacob (Samantha) Steed of Republic; Kelsey (Morgan) Flynn of Little Rock; Ashley Steed of Republic; Zachary (Chandra) Steed of Thayer; and Ruby Frances Steed of Mountain Home. Ten great-grandchildren, and five nephews: Michael Cook, Eddie, Jim, & Doyle Wrenfrow, and Emmett (Bubba) Cook. One niece, Hazel Rodrigue, and special friends, Dow and Carol Wilkerson.
In addition to her parents, Ruby was preceded in death by one infant son, Larry Edward; one infant grandson, Michael Wayne; two brothers: Paul and Emmett Cook; one sister, Anna Pearl (Cook) Wrenfrow; four nephews: Kenny Cook, Jimmy Joe Wagner, Bill & Robert Wrenfrow; one niece, Linda Kay Wrenfrow; two uncles: Silas & Raymond Cook, three aunts: Leida Cook, Tressie Wood, and Irene Simms; daughter-in-law, Margaret Steed.