Mary Jean Ruddick

December 4th, 1950 to September 28th, 2010
Mary Jean (Jeanie) Waters Ruddick, 59, died peacefully Tuesday, September 28, 2010, in her home inPort Huron,Michigan, after a courageous three-year battle with cancer.

Ms. Ruddick was born Dec. 4, 1950 inMuncie,Indiana, the daughter of Gene Waters,Muncieand the late Mary A. Graves Waters.

She graduated in 1969 from Muncie Central High School and majored in journalism at Ball State University then worked at the college newspaper, the Daily News and went on to numerous positions at several newspapers, including most recently as executive editor at the Times Herald in Port Huron.

From 1977-1996, she worked at The Muncie Star and The Muncie Evening Press (now combined as The Star Press inMuncie,Indiana) where she was a copy editor, page designer and reporter. Later she was assistant state editor, then state editor and news editor.

Ms. Ruddick was an entrepreneur and passionate about all endeavors. She approached life with remarkable personal strength, determination and grace, refusing to ever go down without a fight.

During a significant length of her career as a professional journalist, she also owned her own business. From 1980 to1996, she was co-owner of a 10-county vending company.

Later she was owner and manager of a fine dining restaurant, Wheeling Station inMuncie,Indiana. She continued to operate small businesses throughout her life including a hair-styling salon, a bowling center and pro shop and a video/DVD/computer software rental and sales store.

She returned full time to journalism in 1997, where she was special projects editor for the Chronicle-Tribune inMarion,Indianauntil 2004. Before accepting the post inPort Huron, she was metro editor at the Topeka Capital-Journal from 2004 to 2006.

When telling young newspaper journalists how important it is to embracetodays technology, she would admonish them to add that knowledge to their skills sets and let it add new dimensions to their storytelling. I am always careful to point out to them that all the prize-winning photos and videos in the world will not mask poor writing and reporting skills.The story is the entree' -- all the rest is appetizer, accompaniment and dessert, she wrote recently. Become a master storyteller and don't ever stop honing yourreporting skills.The best newspaper journalists have been doing this for hundreds and hundreds of years, and we can thank our lucky stars they have.

She was Past Honored Queen of Jobs Daughters Bethel 25 in Muncie, Ind., and a former member of Altrusa in Muncie. She was a member of Port Huron Rotary Club and various professional organizations.

She also is survived by two sisters, Jane Jones and Janet K. Waters Spaulding and her husband, Rick A. Spaulding; her brother-in-law, Jack A. Pherson, and his wife, Leeann Pherson, all of Muncie, Indiana; two nieces, three nephews, several great-nieces and great-nephews and her loyal and loving dog, DJ.

Besides her mother, she was preceded in death by a sister, Judy C. Pherson and a nephew, Jeff Jones.

A memorial service is set for 3 p.m. Friday at Karrer-Simpson Funeral Home, 1720 Elk Street at Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron. Calling hours are one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Juvenile Diabetes Association or the American Cancer Society.

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