ELLINWOOD — Ellinwood’s 2018 After Harvest Festival Parade theme this year will be “Celebrating people, petroleum, and progress,” according to Rosie Joiner, member of the Ellinwood Rotary Club, which sponsors the parade. She also announced the club’s selection for the Parade grand marshal is long time Ellinwood school nurse Ruth Corbett, now retired.
We met with her in early June at her home in Elliwood.
Ruth is 89 years old. She was born in Odin, and went to grade school and high school there. She attended St. Rose School of Nursing in Great Bend, and she worked in the surgical department of the old St. Rose Hospital in Great Bend for three years.
In 1952, Ruth married Edwin Corbitt Jr. It was also that year that the Ellinwood Community Hospital opened, and she began working there.
They had five children: Debbie was her oldest, then there was Edwin III, born on his grandfather’s birthday, Michael, James and Kevin. Debbie has since passed away, and Ed is in Olathe, Mike in South Dakota, and Jim and Kevin still reside in Ellinwood, she said.
She has 18 grandchildren, and great-grandchildren number in the 20s, including two recent additions, a girl and a boy.
As for her nomination, she is both honored and surprised. She learned from granddaughter Rebecca Herrman during the interview with the Great Bend Tribune that her grandchildren nominated her. She said the family is busy planning how they can make Ruth’s big day special. They plan to pull a float behind Corbett’s parade car, and everyone will be wearing T-shirts in her honor.
“Many of her former students remember grandma always had cherry Ludens cough drops on hand for coughs and sore throats,” Rebecca said. She’s been asked if the family will be tossing the sweet little cough drops from their float in lieu of candy. That’s still up in the air, she said.
In 1968, she became Ellinwood’s school nurse. She retired in 1993, after working there for 25 years.
She did every student’s vision and hearing screenings each year, and she monitored height and weight. She also did the same for the students at St. Joseph Catholic School.
“And, I took care of any little catastrophes, which happened nearly every recess,” she said.
Today, Ruth enjoys being at home.
“I have a beautiful home and I’m grateful for what I have,” she said.
She enjoys caring for her houseplants – her son-in-law helps her water all 22 of them each week. She also enjoys crocheting, and over the years she’s done quite a bit of it. It was her mother that taught her.
“My mother crocheted very well, and she did fancywork too. Embroidery work. She didn’t knit so I didn’t learn to knit either,” she said.
Ruth crocheted all the ornaments for the Christmas trees at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
“I made 100 of them for the big tree, last year, 100 more for the two smaller trees,” she said. “I enjoy doing it. It doesn’t take anything but thread and time.”
For many years, she crocheted a Christmas ornaments of each of her children and grandchildren.
She was very active in the church, serving in the Altar Society, and serving communion at Woodhaven Care Center, Ellinwood’s skilled nursing care center, and to the hospital for several years. Today, children from St. Joseph School visit to play Chinese Checkers. She continues now to receive communion at her home every week, and looks forward to visits from members of the congregation and participating in the Meals on Wheels program.
“I am pleased, and a little overwhelmed by the attention,” she said.