“I love learning something new every day-- just watching TV,” said a 99-year-old Woodward resident. “I also love being outside in my yard.”
Ruby Rutledge Trent was born at home, 13 miles northeast of Woodward. She is the last remaining sibling of 13 children.
Ruby Rutledge was married to Robert “Barsie” Trent a.k.a. Shorty Trent from Hardesty, Oklahoma, for 69 years. They made their home in Woodward where they raised three children- Barsie Eugene Trent, Beverly Trent Morrison, and Tressia Trent Ruttman.
Four generations of the Trent family are alumni of Woodward Public Schools. Ruby and all her siblings attended Woodward High School. Ruby Rutledge Trent and all three children graduated from Woodward High School. The children of Tressia Trent Ruttman also graduated from WHS, as did Ruttman’s granddaughter, RaLonda.
Robert “Barsie” Trent spent several years of his young adult life serving in both World War II and the Korean War. He was then reunited with family in Woodward. Trent worked for Carl’s Machine Shop until his retirement.
On April 9, 1947, Shorty Trent and his family were enjoying a movie while sitting in the balcony of the downtown Terry Theatre. Unexpectedly, a life-changing tornado knocked out the electricity and began its massive path of destruction.
The Trent family safely left the theatre building and saw people using matches and lighters to better see how to exit the theatre after the power outage. The Trents’ daughter, Tressia, remembers one of the Terry Theatre owners warning people to put out the flames due to potential hazards.
After the tornado, the Trents learned to deal with the trauma caused by that deadly storm. Tressia Ruttman said, “We went to the cellar almost every time a cloud came up. We could enter through the garage so we didn’t have to go in the backyard to enter the cellar.”
Today Ruby Trent remains in the same house on 15th Street that she has owned and resided in for over 70 years.
Initially, Trent was a stay-at-home mother with her three young children. She later worked in the central kitchen for Woodward Public Schools. Then she worked in the cafeterias of Cedar Heights Elementary School and Horace Mann Elementary School before becoming the supervisor of the Horace Mann cafeteria.
She retired from Woodward Public Schools after 18 years.
Hearing may be a challenge for Trent these days, but she is still able to live alone and care for herself at age 99. According to her daughter, Ruby cooks, cleans house, gardens, and does laundry by herself, but she has given up driving. The COVID-19 virus has made it necessary for Trent to stay home, so Tressia and Tressia’s daughter, Jody Ruttman, run errands for her. They even serve as her private chauffeurs when she needs to leave the house.
Trent’s days are now filled with reading, Bible Study, and watching TV in her house, but her favorite place to be is outside in her yard. “I love my garden,” Trent said. “I have five tomato vines, four pepper vines, and two squash plants in my front yard.” Trent plants, weeds, waters, and harvests the garden all by herself.
While sitting on her front porch in the morning, Trent becomes an avid bird watcher. After the front porch becomes too bright from morning sunlight, she moves to her backyard to sit in the shade of a big tree where she enjoys more bird watching. In the evening she likes to sit on her front porch to see the solar lights amidst the purple volunteer flowers that are in full bloom in her front flowerbed.
When asked the secret to her amazingly long life, Trent said, “I keep active. No smoking or alcohol. I even walk in my garage if it’s too windy in the back yard for my four laps a day."
“My rescue dog, Zoey, used to do laps with me but now quits and goes to sit in the shade of the picnic table. She wants to keep people away from me,” Trent added.
Zoey was a local rescue dog that had been abused and was about to be put down. When Trent heard about her, she said, “Leave her here with me.”
Ruby and Zoey have become inseparable best buddies.