Photography

       


ANNIE RUTH STATHAM

September 16, 1934

 

Annie Ruth (Ollison) Statham. (Aunt Nita) was born September 16, 1934, and was the ninth child of 13, born to the late Lonnie Ollison and Gladys (Clark) Ollison in Gonzales, Texas. Ruth accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church and began her musical talent at the early age of seven. Ruth was known for her ease in frequent conversation, even with total strangers. Some may not be surprised to know of her diligence as a caretaker; yet even as a child, she possessed a contagious empathy as she served others and enjoyed singing.

 

In high school, Ruth studied private voice lessons under Professor Gilbert Ware and engaged in many musical cultural experiences that enhanced her repertoire in music. Her early years in high school were devoted to extra- curricular activities as she participated in the school choir. Ruth graduated with honors and received a musical scholarship to St. Phillips College in San Antonio, Texas and furthered her music with Roland Martin.

 

Ruth became the wife of Retired SFC/ Major Clifford Statham, and became a devoted mother of two lovely children, Clifford Michael and Donna Marie Statham Gordon. Due to the extensive military travel, Ruth had the opportunity to perform in Hawaii, Europe, Korea, and Alaska. Before her husband's retirement; in Okinawa, Japan, Ruth received honorary recognition from General Roscoe Robinson, Brigadier General, U.S. Army Garrison, and Violeta Diamond, Chief Contractor Inspection BR Facilities Engineering, for her devoted hours to the Army's commemorative efforts for the national Black History Month.

 

After returning to the United States, Ruth graduated from Guadalupe College Music Seminary and worked with the late Maydell Cherry and many organizations. She received many accolades while working with the San Antonio Music Academy and studying with Arthur Newman. She has worked with local musicians such as Professor Walter Odom, (Mt. Zion Baptist Church), Verlaine Reese (Chairman of St. Phillip's College, Jesse Dixon (Gospel recording artist), Oscar Ford (Executive Director of Walker Ford Singers) Rev Donald Vails (Savoy Gospel recording artist) Professor Yum-Chum Okaio (Music Conservatory, Okinawa, Japan). She has been the featured National Anthem soloists for the San Antonio Spurs Basketball team and performed the "The Lord's Prayer for the Pope's San Antonio visit, performed the Madam Butterfly Play, and recorded Ava Maria record.

 

Later in 1983, Ruth graduated with her daughter Donna at Incarnate Word College with both a Bachelors in Education and a Master's in Adult Education. In 2005, Ruth later returned to St. Phillips College and obtained an associate degree in Theater as she studied with Ms. Olga Davis, former St. Phillip's Drama Director and Chairwoman.

 

Ruth is a member of Antioch Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Kemp and a member of The Antioch Mass Choir. Ruth faithfully cared for her family and friends through delicious home cooked meals made from scratch, her signature brownies, catering skills, as well as her big down-home dinners at her home. Ruth, a woman of faith and the heart of the family that shaped the spiritual values by her tireless Christian examples and also through prayer groups, and activities. Her dedication as a caretaker for her "Mentally Challenged" son, to the onset of her illness, was a testimony of true devotion to the family and her walk with God.

 

As the years went by, she met the late Joyce Cyers and they both worked on a project which later developed into her signature "Harriet Tubman" and the "I Care" Ministry. The performances were enhanced by the connection she developed with Clara Vaughn as the sponsor in the "Battle of Flowers" Parade for 22 years and the wonderful established friendship where she served in the parade as Harriet Tubman with the use of Yellow Rose Carriage unique theme decorations.

 

Throughout Ruth's life, she maintained a sweet and simple demeanor that won the trust, respect, honor and hearts of many whom, even now, have been changed by her witnessing and constant nurturing, love, and faith. Her signature gift of helping others will never be forgotten and her extensive cooking was always prepared for others with an opened heart.

 

Ruth's sudden departure on November 30, 2018, at 5:49am at Carol Ann's Facility embarks a woman's courage that sustained through her broken body and memory loss and never allowed her courage or hope to die. Regardless of her increased complications she strengthened her fight and struggle to survive was always unyielding. Ruth's courage, faith and determination are the many attributes that was seen in her portrayal of Harriet Tubman as well as throughout her life. Ruth is survived by her daughter, Donna Marie (Statham) Gordon, sons, Clifford Michael Statham, Jr., grandson, Philam Henry, granddaughter, Millicent LaDonna Gordon, sister, Gladys Beard, nieces, Linda Ware, Audrey, Wallace, Melvin, Vincent and host family and friends.

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