Nelda Ruth Cade, 90, of San Antonio, Texas


SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Nelda Ruth Cade was born March 27, 1931, and grew up in San Antonio, Texas. After high school (and one year of college) she joined the U.S. Army and retired in 1975 as a Lt. Colonel. She was posted and trained around Washington, D.C.; the Women’s Army Corps Center in Alabama; California; and Alaska; as well as serving in Germany. Her leadership skills were quickly recognized and she was promoted on a fast track. During this time she went into the Reserves to finish college and then worked as a social worker in Texas before returning to active duty. While posted at Ft. Meyer near D.C. she was a member of the funeral procession for President John F. Kennedy.

Ruth had a challenging early life — both of her parents had TB and met in a sanatorium. Her grandmother was important to her early years and Ruth became a skilled caregiver for family who were ill. She felt this was a blessing to her later life as she understood what it meant to be sick. She was always close to her large, extended family — going to the family reunion on the Fourth of July was a highlight of every year. On her many travels she always brought home small gifts for the children. Her love and support extended to so many dear friends around the country as she and her long-time companion Charlotte Phillips (who died on Dec. 6) built an adventurous life together after retirement.

Ruth was a person of great faith, attending St. David’s Episcopal Church while in San Antonio and the Cornwall Congregational Church while in Vermont with Charlotte. She was extremely generous to all — opening her home to refugee families and young people needing a temporary place to stay, funding college educations and helping with housing needs for many. All of this for her was an extension of God’s love and the blessings she felt she had been given to be shared with others. She was an active volunteer in both of her church communities — for example, working with people who were houseless in Texas and a St. David’s project providing Christmas gifts for children who needed them.

Ruth and Charlotte both were very active in the American Volkssport Association (an international walking club they first joined in Germany). Not only did Ruth walk more than 10,000 miles in AVA events, but they provided leadership and organization at the national, regional, and local club levels.

Ruth was always wise in her counsel and observations of life; full of adventure (traveling all over the world with Charlotte and others); and fun to be with. She loved to play cards and when things went right: Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! She loved all animals and provided homes for many stray cats, and especially loved her last two dogs (Toby and Tu) — cockapoos who traveled in the RV wherever she went. She and Charlotte lived their last 14 years at the Army Retirement Center in San Antonio where Ruth made many more friends and brought her humor, kindness, and positive attitude to one and all.

Ruth died Dec. 1, 2021.

A funeral service for both Ruth and Charlotte will be held at St. David’s Episcopal Church on Jan. 13 and Ruth will be buried at Fort Sam Houston. A memorial service for both Ruth and Charlotte will be held in Vermont in June 2022, and Charlotte will be buried there. Donations to animal rescue organizations in her memory are welcome. ◊

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