Ruth Ann Barnes died Tuesday, July 3, 2018, at Ozark Mountain Regional Healthcare in Crane, Missouri. She passed peacefully in her sleep with her youngest son, Christopher, by her side and with the help of hospice, nurses, and aides to comfort her.

Ruth Ann was born Ruth Ann Walz to Martin and Jeanette Walz at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, on February 1, 1924. She entered first grade at age 5 in 1929 at E.F. Swinney School, which has since been placed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Ruth Ann skipped one grade due to proficiency in her schoolwork and graduated from eighth grade at the age of 12 in 1936.

Ruth Ann began her high school years at Westport High School before her family moved to Shawnee Mission, Kansas, where she graduated in 1940 from Shawnee Mission Rural High School at age 16. She worked for Skelly Oil Company and then Western Union in Kansas City, Missouri, during World War II.

Ruth Ann converted to Catholicism and enjoyed swing and jitterbug dancing at organized events throughout the war years.

On April 26, 1944, Ruth Ann Walz married Navy pilot Lt. Cmdr. William G. Barnes who returned to school after the war to become a physician. Dr. Barnes passed away in 2002. To this marriage three children were born, William G. Barnes, Jr., Christopher M. Barnes, and Janet Lee Barnes. All three survive.

Ruth Ann devoted her youth to making a home for her husband and children. With her encouragement, all three of her children went to college. Ruth Ann was a voracious reader of fiction, nonfiction, and periodicals. She returned to school in her 50s to complete her education at Stephen’s College in Columbia, Missouri, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Ruth Ann enjoyed an active social life and formed many lifelong friendships with her golfing and travel buddies, and the nuns and priests with whom she worked at the Catholic Tribunal in Kansas City.

While in her 60s, Ruth Ann moved to Apalachicola, and made many new friends in her new home. She was an avid letter writer, often gracing her correspondents with handwritten letters in longhand in her beautiful penmanship. She was a cat lover and dog lover and shared her life caring for many treasured family pets. Ruth Ann was opinionated and passionate about her beliefs, and could be fiercely loyal as well as a formidable opponent in a debate.

In addition to her children, Ruth Ann left behind two granddaughters, Laurel and Lindsay, and one great-granddaughter, Shelby. Ruth Ann’s brother, John, and her sister, Pat, preceded her in death. Ruth Ann dearly loved her many nieces and nephews.

She lived and worked in Arizona, Florida, Arkansas, and Missouri in the years following her graduation from college. Ruth Ann lived for many years with her daughter, Janet Lee, before Alzheimer’s disease required her constant care.

Ruth Ann became a resident at Ozark Mountain Regional Healthcare on Feb. 7, 2015, where she used her walker to visit all corners of the facility day and night until Jan. 2018 when a bout of influenza slowed her down. The staff and residents knew her well and appreciated her sunny disposition and enjoyed her daily walkabouts.

Ruth Ann’s wishes were to have her cremains scattered in the Gulf of Mexico. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Parish in Billings, Missouri, at 8 a.m. on Sunday, July 29. Ruth Ann was a member of the Missouri Cremation Service. Online guestbook and obituary at www.missouricremation.com.