Saturday, September 30, 2023
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Generous, quiet and kind, Ruby Cain lived a wholehearted life, inspiring all who were blessed to know her. In every moment, Ruby showed us with gentle grace how to love and care for others. She focused on the positive, listened with compassion, and freely shared her blessings. Honest and intelligent, Ruby possessed a great sense of humor, often delighting people with her quick wit. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, and friend, Ruby relished every moment she shared with those she loved. Cherished by many, Ruby will long live in the hearts of those she so dearly loved.
The 1920s were an age of dramatic social and political change. Post-war peace, a booming economy, and rising wages for most Americans, created a higher standard of living for most. For the first time, more Americans lived in cities than on farms. The tunes of George Gershwin and Duke Ellington filled our homes, Mickey Mouse spoke his first words, and the first Academy Awards were given out with Wings earning the Oscar for Best Picture. This time grew even brighter for Rosco "Stub" and Lottie (Burtch) Hodges as they welcomed their daughter, Ruby, to their family on September 12, 1929.
The sixth of seven children, Ruby grew up on a farm in Marion Township, Saginaw County, Michigan. In a time where electric washing machines made the chore of laundry easier and vacuum cleaners were sweeping the nation, the Hodges home still had neither electricity nor indoor plumbing. They had to pump water and carry it inside with a bucket and were still using an outhouse. Like most farm kids, Ruby had her fair share of chores. She helped with weeding, caring for the chickens, milking cows, and churning butter. The family had to work hard for what little they had. From a young age, she loved attending school and reading books. She re-read books many times as they offered an escape from farm life. Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables were two of her favorites. She walked to and from the one-room schoolhouse she attended. The area was surrounded by wetlands which were home to rattlesnakes and created an extreme aversion in her toward snakes.
After graduating from Merrill High School in 1946 at the age of 16, Ruby attended Central Michigan College; she was the only one of her siblings to attend college. Her dad was so proud of her interest in learning that he helped her pay for it, which was unusual for that time as women were not expected to go to college. She also earned a scholarship. In 1948, Ruby graduated with a limited teaching certificate for elementary education and started teaching at Long Lake School near Fenton, Michigan.
In 1947, Ruby met Howard Cain at the Golden Glow Ballroom. For Ruby, it was love at first sight. The couple dated for two years before marrying on June 25, 1949, at the Methodist Church in Mt. Morris. Ruby worked while Howard attended Michigan State College on the G.I. Bill. They lived in the Lansing area until Howard graduated in 1951.
With his accounting degree in hand, Howard and Ruby, along with their baby daughter, Mary, moved to Kalamazoo, where Howard found a job at a public accounting firm, Ernst and Ernst. While he worked as a C.P.A., Ruby was busy with her growing family. Julie, Tim, and Laurie joined their sister a few years later. With great care, Ruby worked to ensure her family had a loving and supportive home, creating a welcoming place where the neighborhood kids also gathered and enjoyed many good times.
Ruby was a wonderful mother as each of her children's first and best teacher. Ruby enjoyed playing games and reading with her children; they spent a lot of time at the library together. Even when they were quite young, the family made taffy together which was a messy, but fun and delicious project. Ruby hosted the best birthday parties in the neighborhood with fun games and tasty cakes. She created a mini home in their basement, complete with a makeshift kitchen and dress-up clothes, where the kids enjoyed playing for many hours.
Ruby wanted a better childhood than her own for her kids, and was careful not to make them work too hard when they were young. She skillfully balanced their daily chores with plenty of time for fun and family. She enjoyed taking the kids roller and ice skating, and she and Howard did couples ice skating together also. Classes in art, music, and dance were encouraged by her. Ruby didn't know how to drive when they first moved to Kalamazoo, which meant she and her kids sometimes caught the city bus or even a taxicab to get around. Eventually, Howard taught her to drive, which opened up her world even further. Ruby never missed an important event; she attended countless baton and tap recitals, plays, concerts, and sporting events, proudly supporting her children at every turn.
As her children grew older, Ruby volunteered much of her time and talent at church, elementary schools, and she served as a Brownie leader. The school carnival was an annual favorite to work on and her kids even helped. She also volunteered for the American Cancer Society and the March of Dimes.
In time, Ruby decided to return to college to earn her bachelor's degree and further her career. She enrolled at Western Michigan University at the age of 45, and in December of 1976, she received her bachelor’s in elementary education. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Ruby taught for the Kalamazoo Public Schools and tutored for the SLD Center, working with children who had dyslexia.
When she became a grandmother, she put tutoring aside and focused even more on family. This time with her grandchildren gave her much pleasure. Baking, reading, playing games, and getting down on the floor to play were just some of the fun things they did together. As with her children, Ruby was her grandchildren's biggest fan. She always reflected their worth and encouraged them in every way.
Beginning in 1966, the family enjoyed vacationing at beautiful Glen Lake, Michigan, and returned there each year. Ruby and Howard also traveled extensively throughout North America. After retiring, they enjoyed trips to Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Africa, and Europe. Ruby made sure to send postcards to her family from all their travels and brought home educational gifts for the grandchildren.
Ruby loved to learn and continued to pursue opportunities to grow during her entire life. She took painting and drawing classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and shared her interest in art with her kids, often borrowing books from the library on famous artists. With great curiosity and smarts, Ruby was exceptional at Jeopardy, crossword puzzles, and word games. She enjoyed embroidery, knitting, and sewing. She made matching clothes for her kids and made all the grandkids their own set of Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals. For many years, Ruby served as president of the American Cancer Society women's division, traveling to other states for national events. She also sang in the church choir at Milwood Methodist Church, where she and Howard raised their kids. Ruby also enjoyed writing and regularly sent handwritten cards and simple notes of praise, encouragement, and congratulations to many. She never missed writing a heartfelt acknowledgment for birthdays and special moments.
With a heart devoted to the care of others, Ruby proved a powerful source of love, comfort, and encouragement. Her consistent willingness to give of herself in service of others, the example of her 74-year marriage, and her love for learning are the foundation of the beautiful legacy that will live on in the lives of those she touched, moved, and inspired. As we celebrate Ruby's beautiful life, may we find much comfort in our many treasured memories and knowing she has been reunited with her beloved husband and son.
Preceding her in death are her parents and siblings; her son, Tim in 1995 and her husband in 2023. She leaves behind her daughters from Kalamazoo: Mary Shuster, Julie Cain-Derouin (John) and Laurie Cain. In addition, six grandchildren: Ebiri Ngkuba (Alicia) Grand Rapids; Levi Cain (Rachel) Hudsonville, MI; Dr. Kate Shuster (Joshua Kiel) Mt. Juliet, TN; James Shuster (Melody Lyee) Bellevue, WA; Sam Derouin (Ksenia) Ada, MI; and Will Derouin (Michele) Suttons Bay, MI. Also, ten great grandchildren: Zion, Shiloh and Maya Ngkuba; Zacchaeus and Atticas Cain; Arthur and Lucas Derouin; Eliana and Calvin Kiel and Leonardo Shuster.
A memorial service will be held September 30, 2023 at 2:00 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI. (269) 375-2900. A reception will follow with food, drinks, and shared stories. Visit Ruby's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories and photos and sign her guestbook. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, or Salvation Army.