Ruby Anna Iona (Albritton) Strauser, 96, passed away peacefully (surrounded by family and caregivers) on May 23, 2019, at the Golden Oaks Canyon Assisted Living facility in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Ruby Anna Iona was born in rural Leedey, OK on August 31, 1922 to (William) Elmer and Jewell Iva (Stevens) Albritton—and was always called Iona by family and friends, to avoid confusion with her Aunt Ruby, for whom she was named.
Iona was preceded in death by her dear parents; her husband: David, on March 12, 2011; one sister: LaVona Lyons; two brothers: Darold and Bob Albritton; one brother-in-law: William Strauser; and two sisters-in-law: Clarice Albritton and Vera Strauser.
Iona accepted Jesus into her heart in her early teens, was baptized, and joined the Baptist Church. Like her parents, older sister, and two younger brothers, Iona learned to work hard on the farm. Among other chores, she picked cotton (even on one Christmas Day), cut weeds, brought in wood and coal, churned butter, gathered eggs, helped take care of baby brother, and washed lots of dishes. Growing up, she enjoyed a variety of activities, including basketball, baseball, running races, costume parties on Halloween, pie or box suppers at church or school, and ice skating in regular shoes on frozen creeks in the winter. When the dirt storms became unbearable in the latter part of the Great Depression, her family migrated from Oklahoma to Chula Vista, CA, where she attended a large high school for two years and participated in various extracurricular activities. In 1939, Iona and her family returned to the farm in Northwestern Oklahoma, where Iona graduated from Leedey High School in 1940. Iona then moved to Weatherford, OK, where she studied business for three semesters at Southwestern State College (now Southwestern Oklahoma State University). While attending college, she went on a double date, and then went on a single date the very next might, when the “other” guy (one David Strauser) asked her out! After they dated a while, she married that “good lookin’ fella” on October 24, 1942 in a Clinton, OK Baptist parsonage in the presence of two witnesses, and Iona and David made a life together—for the next 68 years. Relocating to Southern California, they spent several months working for Rohr Aircraft, aiding in the war effort of WWII before David was himself called into military service. Iona accompanied David back to Oklahoma in 1943, where she could be near family and where he was inducted into the US Army Air Forces. On September 3, 1943, Iona gave birth to Carolyn Deanna in Clinton, OK, and they lived on the Washita County place, southwest of Weatherford, while David underwent basic training at Wichita Falls, TX. Subsequently, their little pride and joy accompanied them to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After David’s honorable discharge in 1946, the family moved to Saint Joseph, MO, for a while, but then headed back to the farm in Oklahoma, and Garry was born in Weatherford in 1947. After trying to make a go of dry-land farming, they decided to head for Tucson, AZ in August 1948, where Iona’s parents and siblings had settled. Being cold-natured, Iona appreciated the warmth of Southern Arizona, eventually residing in Tucson for 68 years before moving to Cochise County in 2016.
Upon first moving to Tucson, Iona worked as a telephone operator for a while, but her very favorite—and best—role was that of nurturing and supportive mother. Above all else, Iona was always dedicated to her family and put them first. She kept her home spic and span, even while working nights and weekends as a carhop, which she did for many years after the children were old enough to be in school. Her selfless sacrifices made it possible for Deanna and Garry to go to college, and her example taught them to love and care for others. She didn’t send them to church; she and David faithfully took them to Sunday school and worship services. Before the era of free phone calls and emails, Iona was the faithful family correspondent—dependably sharing news with in-laws, extended family members, and friends who appreciated her amazing penmanship. Before Iona reached her nineties, she always seemed to know what was going on. She kept her ear to the ground. And her comments could make a person laugh!
Iona is survived by her two children: Deanna (Larry) Kastens of Hereford, AZ, and Garry (Patricia) Strauser of Hot Springs, SD; one sister-in-law: Juanita Albritton of Tucson, AZ; six grandchildren: Amy (Frank) VanDevender of Cottonwood, AZ, Jayson Kastens of Cupertino, CA, Michael Strauser of Tucson, AZ, Julie (Satya) Krishnamurthi of Bangalore, India, Timothy (Tawnya) Strauser of Gothenburg, NE, and Matthew (Brandi) Strauser of Fort Collins, CO; 17 great-grandchildren: Abigail, Jackson, Frank, Curtis, Steven, Thomas, Kyle, and Emmett VanDevender, Sanjay, Vijay, and Pranay Krishnamurthi, Kynlee, Kellen, Kalli, and Kale Strauser, and Madilyn and Alden Strauser; and many nephews and nieces.
In their advanced years, Iona was able to help care for David’s health needs, and she was then blessed and grateful to receive assistance from many kind and thoughtful caregivers at The Cascades of Tucson, Right at Home Tucson, and Golden Oaks Assisted Living. Her last two and a half years were at Golden Oaks. She was healthy until the end and admitted that she was happy at Golden Oaks. Iona was stoic throughout her long life and blessed others with her loving nature and sweet smile. She will be greatly missed.
Services will be under the care of J. Warren Funeral Services and held at the Adair Funeral Home Dodge Chapel, 1050 N. Dodge Blvd., Tucson, AZ, with visitation from 1-2 p.m. on Monday, May 27, 2019, and the funeral service to follow at 2 p.m. Pastor Michael Bergman will officiate, with subsequent burial in Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford, Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Christian Worship Hour, P.O. Box 2002, Aberdeen, South Dakota 57402, or to AG World Missions (Annotation: Account #2820744 for Johnny and Andrea Pangelinan in Thailand), 1445 N. Boonville Avenue, Springfield, Missouri 65802-1894.