Ruth Ann Parkhurst-Darby, 93, passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2023 at Western Missouri Medical Center, surrounded by her family.
Ruth Ann was born in Hughesville, MO on September 27, 1929 to Alma Rose (Swope) and John Henry Parkhurst. She grew up in Hughesville, MO, graduating as Valedictorian from Hughesville Consolidated School in 1947. Having received the Board of Regents Scholarship from Central Missouri State College, she prioritized her education and was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics in 1951. That fall, she began her teaching career at Carrollton High School, Carrollton, MO. On July 26, 1953, she was joined in marriage to Karl A. Darby, a Carrollton native, in a ceremony at Hughesville Baptist Church. At that time, Ruth Ann put her career on hold as the couple made their home in Carrollton, where Karl farmed and ran a custom anhydrous ammonia application business. In 1959, they relocated to the farm in Hughesville, where they made their home for nearly 50 years and raised their four daughters.
Ruth Ann resumed her teaching career in fall of 1964 at her alma mater in Hughesville, which became known as Northwest High School that same year. In the course of her years at Northwest, Ruth Ann served as advisor for the yearbook and newsletter and chaperoned Senior Class Trips in 1970, 1974 and 1980. In 1982, she added Master of Science in Education to her credentials which she considered one of her greatest achievements. She retired in 1994 after 30 years at Northwest.
In her family life, Ruth Ann was the proud mother of four daughters, whom she guided through almost 20 years of 4-H as project leader in clothing, cooking and crafts. She was an even prouder grandmother and loved assisting the grandchildren with their 4-H projects as well. She also served as a judge for the Pettis County Achievement Days and in the Missouri State Fair Home Economics Building for many years.
In the late 1970’s, Ruth Ann and Karl became involved in the Missouri Cattlemen Association and the Missouri Charolais Association, breeding, showing and selling registered animals across the country and even abroad. Over the years, Darby Charolais built a reputation for fine cattle, winning multiple ribbons, trophies and awards in shows across the United States not just for their cattle, but also their delicious BBQ. In 1995, they were recognized as American Royal Missouri Farm Family and by the Missouri State Fair as Producer and Exhibitor of Charolais Cattle.
Ruth Ann also enjoyed cooking, baking, canning, sewing, raising puppies, gardening, traveling and camping. She was a charter member of the Sedalia Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, serving as President as well as other offices. She was also an active member of the Brown Club, a rural ladies’ social/service organization.
After Karl’s passing in 2016, Ruth Ann took up residence at Winchester Meadows (now Primrose) Assisted Living, where she enjoyed playing cards, bingo and other group activities. She used her gardening skills to create a flourishing indoor garden in her apartment. She continued her sewing, doing alterations for her friends, making knick-knacks as gifts and most of all, learning to quilt. In recent years, she has made quilts for all of her family. During her time at Winchester Meadows, Ruth Ann took great pride and joy in her beloved cat, Kitty, who provided her endless amusement and love.
As this account shows, Ruth Ann had many impressive accomplishments in her 93 years of life, however, she would have said she was the most proud of her family. She is survived by all four of her daughters and their spouses: Karen Simon (Tom), Nancy Sellers (Kent), Cindy Schuknecht (Brad) and Linda Kahrs (Rusty); eight grandchildren and their spouses, Connor Simon, Darby Simon, Crystal Sellers-Munzlinger (Clint), Kyle Sellers (Julie), Jessica Schuknecht-Moon (Christopher), Karla Schuknecht-Riggs (Derek), Matt Kahrs (Brittney) and Sara Kahrs-Moss (Musa); ten great grandchildren, Cord and Cooper Munzlinger, Mary Ellen Sellers, Korbyn and Karson Moon, Ty, Ryann and Kade Riggs, Jackson and Bennett Kahrs.
She was predeceased by husband Karl; brothers, John Wesley Parkhurst and James Parkhurst; sisters, Lydia Parkhurst-Neville, Frances Parkhurst-Morang, Annetta Parkhurst-Rissler-Higgins, Hazel Parkhurst-Crounse, Lucille Dillard-Dyer and Rosalie Dillard-Shane.
Funeral service will be 11:00 am Saturday, July 29, 2023 at Heckart Funeral Home.
Visitation will be 9:30 am until service time at the funeral home.
Burial will be 2:00 pm at Oak Hill Cemetery, Carrollton.
The family suggests memorial contributions to Pettis County 4-H Foundation or Sedalia Animal Shelter in care of the funeral home.
Arrangements are under the direction of Heckart Funeral Home.