Do you know an absolutely amazing lady who was born right here in Starkville, on January 4, 1924, and she is 86 years young? Not only do I know her, but I love her very, very much! Her name is Ruby Nash Lewis Davis, and my only daughter, Elizabeth Davis Williams and her only daughter, Mallory Ann Williams, Ruby Nash Lewis Davis, and I are the last living Lewis’ left in Starkville and Oktibbeha County. We are all cousins! How are we kin? Ruby Nash’s father, Saunders Lewis and my own grandfather, William Elmer Lewis, were brothers. We are second cousins on the Lewis side of our family, and she is my last as well as my favorite, cousin in the whole wide world!
She is one astonishing, wonderful lady indeed. She has lived and enjoyed her life in an amazing manner. She served this city of Starkville as our “First Lady” for 3 terms since her husband, Mr. H. P. “Punchy” Davis was Mayor of Starkville. He was our Mayor for 12 years. She was right besides him as his “First Lady”and our city’s “First Lady”
Since I never knew my own grandfather, Elmer, I have often ask Ruby Nash to tell me stories about Elmer and her father, Saunders. She told me over and over again what fine gentlemen they both were. Elmer worked with the Martin Brothers in their funeral home downtown, and Saunders was the part owner of our Reed and Lewis Grocery Store and Wholesale Grocery downtown. They were both caring men with great personalities and handsome as well. Her father was six feet tall and my grandfather was over six feet tall. Both men were very much loved, and contributed to our city during their life times. The were very sweet and kind fathers and grandfathers. Ruby Nash was an only child, and she was named for her mother, Ruby Nash, who grew up in near by West Point.
Ruby Nash still lives in her landmark family home at 606 University Drive, Starkville right across from Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church. She was four years old when the home was built. Her home is very lovely, and filled with beautiful family keepsakes. I especially love the large massive front door with the tiny little rounded window in the top of it, and the brick porch leading into the lovely home This family home is one of Starkville’s treasures on University Drive.
Ruby Nash and “Punchy” spent years over-seas since “Punchy” was a Lieutenant Colonel in our USA Air Force, and they especially enjoyed living in The Philippine Islands and in Germany. Their three children are: Sandra who is married and lives in Georgia, John who is married and lives in Texas, and Ginger who is married and lives in Mississippi. Ruby Nash is a proud grandmother and great-grandmother. Her three grown children love and adore their mother as they did their father.
My earliest memories of Cousin Ruby Nash was getting all dressed up to go to a musical recital with moma and daddy that both she and “Punchy” were preforming that night. Ruby Nash was playing her beautiful marimba and “Punchy” was singing solo’s. She was to accompany him.
What is a marimba? It is kind of deep-toned Xylophone, originating in Africa and consisting of wooden keys on a frame with a tuned resonator beneath each key. She played very well and “Punchy” sang like a bird. I well remember how beautiful they looked as they preformed beautifully too. Once, Ruby Nash knitted me the most lovely woolen sweaters which I have kept and treasured all of these years. She has always been very thoughtful and generous as she always remembered our birthdays, graduations, and wedding with cards and gifts. They were always chosen with such care and perfect taste that only Ruby Nash could do. She is a wonderful cook and hostess as well.
Ruby Nash is a devout and devoted member of First United Methodist Church in Starkville. She goes to the early Sunday service and makes her way to the seventh pew from the altar each Sunday morning at exactly 8:30 a.m. She enjoys her Sunday School which follows the church service, as well as her Women’s Circle meetings. She is in the church sewing and quilting group too. Ruby Nash loves to play bridge, and many times when I happen to drop by just to give her a hug, I find her living room all set up for her bridge group of ladies who are coming over to play and have lunch with her that day. She enjoys going to the Starkville Community Theater and to the Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony. She is a graduate of Starkville High School and is a college graduate too.
I think the one adjective to truly describe Cousin Ruby Nash is spunk! She has a spark in her smile and glimmer in her brown, brown eyes. She has courage, and she stands up for herself spiritedly and courageously, and she stands up for others as well as her family. She has great passion and is so cute too. Ruby Nash is one spunky and spirited real lady! She is very independent and walks and talks very fast. She is a lady who never gives up, and bounces, back much like the battery that just keeps “ticking,”“ticking” and “ticking!”
What an honor and what a privilege I had to capture on my stretched 100 percent cotton canvas the portrait of Cousin Ruby Nash. I wondered how I would paint, her spunk, spark, and glimmer? I knew that I would attempt and I would try to capture her vivacious personality, her wit, and her ability to never ever give up like that Duracell battery, she firmly believes in her whole heart to just keep on “trucking on” with her life each day, second, minute and hour left to her in this thing we call, life!
I painted her in her stylish dark blue jacket and pant’s suit outfit. She has on her pretty white blouse and her silver earrings a gift to her from one of her very best friends, the late Mozelle Shaw Walton. Ruby Nash misses her terribly.
Look closely at the spark in her smile with her pretty white teeth and red, red lipstick, the glimmer in her brown eyes that say, “let’s have fun today!”
Look at her soft pretty short gray, almost white, hair. Ruby Nash has beautiful wavy and curly hair which gives her face such a softness.
She is always stylishly dressed and looks neat a fashionable. She has great taste about her choice of clothes and dresses to the “9’s”! Ruby Nash is very pretty both outside and inside her very heart.
I used a black background mixed in with touches of copper and greens. Her portrait is framed in a massive copper and gold frame to add elegance to portrait and her personality.
It is with great honor that I call her cousin... Ruby Nash Lewis Davis, an amazing lady!