Grace June Rudy, 101 ½ years old passed gently into God’s hands and went to her heavenly home on July 6, 2007 at the Scotland County Care Center in Memphis, Missouri, where she had made her home since 2002.
She was born to Opha E. and Mary Frances (Aylward) Cunningham on December 2, 1905 in rural Scotland County, Missouri.
Grace accepted Christ as her Lord and savior at age ten at the old Pleasant Hill Church, about three miles north of Memphis.
She went to Center Point country school all eight years, then attended and graduated from Memphis High School in 1925. She attended Kirksville State Teacher’s College, then taught at Edinburg, Pleasant Hill, and Center Point country schools.
She married Parley Bennett Rudy on June 3, 1930. To this union two daughters were born, Marilyn June, stillborn in 1935 and Nelda Joyce in 1939.
Grace was a busy, devoted and hard-working farm housewife and a very kind, supportive, precious loving mother to Nelda.
In 1957, the year Nelda graduated from Memphis High School, Grace started substituting for two years, including Miller rural school. She went back to take more classes at the Kirksville Teacher’s College. She already had a Missouri Lifetime Teaching Certificate. She then taught at Clay Point, Brock and Memphis, (Missouri) Elementary School for a total of fourteen years, then Blackhawk Elementary School, Kahoka, Missouri for three years where she retired in 1971.
She and daughter, Nelda, enjoyed attending Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College together one summer and sat together in a couple of classes. She graduated from Northeast Missouri State Teacher’s College. (now Truman State) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1966.
Grace became a member of Bethel Methodist Protestant Church, then became a member of the Memphis Methodist Episcopal Church (now the Memphis United Methodist Church) in 1925, where she was active and attended as long as her health permitted.
She belonged to the Crossroads Boosters Extension Club, United Methodist Women, Martha Circle, Memphis and Missouri Retired Teacher’s Association, Scotland County Historical Society, and the Genealogical Society.
In later years she enjoyed crocheting beautiful doilies and afghans, collecting frogs, her two white cats, Nippy and Tucky, and her little dog, Twisty and at the top of the list her family and friends. She enjoyed raising peafowl for pleasure for a few years.
She was preceded in death by her infant daughter, her husband, her parents, her two sisters, Shirley Boise and husband Ervin, and Genola Billups and husband, Brainerd, Mother-in-law, Ester (Hyde) Rudy, and George and Minnie Rudy.
She is survived by her loving daughter Nelda (Ebling) Billups, Memphis, her grandson, Vinton Eric Ebling, her great-grandson Lukas Ericson Ebling, Amy Ebling and children, Austin Jamison, and Brittany Hefley, Olathe, Kansas, Donald Billups of Fridley, Minnesota, his daughter, Donna Gonzalez and daughter Elisa Gonzalez of Bradenton, Florida, Adrianna and Rob Levesque of Columbus, Georgia, Debbie, Luis and Chrissy Banuche, Sarasota, Florida, Luis Banuche, IL., Orlando, Florida, niece Mary Anna and Rolland Andrews, Milton, Iowa, Gail, Gary, and Kailin Solomons of Austin Texas nephew, Richard and Joella Billups, Cantril, Iowa, Thom Elizabeth and Lily Billups, Portland Oregon, Julie, Steve, Victoria, and Jordan Vaughan, Simpsonville, South Carolina, niece, Betty Jean and Louie Bower, Tyler, Texas, Dr. Kevin, Kim, Camille, Genevieve and Charlotte Bower, Dallas, Texas Susan Barry, Mischa, Hannah and Addison Bower, Leawood, Kansas, Kent, Carrie, and Bailey Bower, Abilene, Texas, nephew George and Pauline Rudy, Tyler, Texas, Mary Bea and Jack McCambridge and Courtney Pearson, Longview, Texas, Clark and Cindy, Morgan, and Brandon Rudy ElPaso, Texas, dear friend Katie Johnston, Shawnee Kansas, and relatives, LeAnn Goodman, Barbara (Adams) Smith, Memphis, Hazel (Cunningham) Bradley, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jane Ann (Cunningham) Woods, Bowling Green, Missouri, plus many precious and dear friends.
She was loving and touched many lives in many ways throughout her long life. She saw many changes in the community, country, and world in her 101 ½ years.
Grace’s faith sustained her and she and her family have been blessed and are thankful to God for her long, full life.
She will be sadly missed by her daughter, Nelda, her family and many friends.
Memorials are suggested to the Memphis United Methodist Church, Scotland County Care Center, or the Downing House Museum. They can be left at or mailed to the Payne Funeral Chapel, 202 E. Madison St., Memphis, Missouri 63555.
Visitation was held on Monday, July 9, 2007 at Payne Funeral Chapel. Memphis from noon until 8 p.m., with the family-receiving friends from 6 to 8 p.m.
Funeral Services were held on Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at 1:30 p.m. at the Memphis United Methodist Church, Memphis, with Rev. Terry Lippstreu officiating. Musicians were Ann Luther organist, Sarah Baker, Jessie Cotton, Teresa Cotton, and Melissa Cotton, vocalist. Pallbearers were: Mike Aylward, Scott Aylward, Don Chancellor, Tom Coffrin, Stanley Eggleston, and Larry Riney. Honorary Pallbearers were: Mike Ahland, Phil Duley, Jerry Garrett, and Steve Morris. Interment was in the Memphis Cemetery, Memphis, MO. Arrangements were handled by the Payne Funeral Chapel, Memphis. MO.