Thelma Ruth Jordan Rutledge, also affectionately known as "Baby Ruth", was born on September 26, 1928 to Mr. and Mrs. John Henry Jordan, Sr. in Brazoria, Texas. She was the 16th of seventeen children where nine of her siblings lived to be adults.
Thelma graduated from Jack Yates high school in 1944. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree from Wiley College (Marshall, TX) in June 1949 at the age of 19 years old. There she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in April of 1948. She went on to earn her Master's Degree from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) in 1957. As a school teacher, she taught various grades and subjects for 39 ½ years - 2 years in Brazoria, TX; 7 years in Houston, TX; and 30 ½ years in Duarte, CA.
Thelma was married to the late Calvin Rutledge and had one beloved son, the late SSG Dwayne Elliott Rutledge.
Thelma accepted Jesus as her Lord and personal Savior early in life and was filled with the Holy Spirit at St. Luke Episcopal Church in Monrovia, CA. Regardless of her location and circumstances, Thelma always made sure she was connected to a church home where she could continue to receive the Word of God and grow in her relationship with Christ. She has been a member of Marlboro Missionary Baptist Church since moving to the Killeen/Harker Heights Area. There she remained a faithful member until she departed this life on Saturday, December 10, 2017.
Thelma was preceded in death by her father, John Henry Jordan, Sr.; her mother, Ella Harrison Jordan; her siblings, Alphonce Jordan, Estelle Higgins, Etheldred Jordan, Felix Jordan, Frances Green, John Henry Jordan, Jr. Minnie Jordan, and Umbre Nelson Jordan, Sr.; her son, SSG Dwayne Elliott Rutledge; her daughter-in-law, Diane Rutledge; nieces, Deneise Moss and Jean Jordan; and nephew, Perry Jordan.
Thelma leaves to cherish her memories: her grandchildren Rhonda Black (Tommie) of Cedar Hill, TX; Catherine King of Killeen, TX; and Gary Cole of Killeen, TX; her sister-in-law: Freedie Woodard Jordan; her nieces and nephew: Dorothy Nelson (Jonathan) of Brooklyn, NY; Greta Jordan Williams (Patrick) of Missouri City, TX; Melba Jordan Harris of Houston, TX; Shirley Jordan of Houston, TX; and Umbre Nelson Jordan, Jr. of Houston, TX. She also leaves a host of other family and friends. Finally, Thelma leaves a strong supportive and loving Church family at Marlboro Missionary Baptist Church, which on every possible occasion she would remark how wonderful and caring they were to her, which made her days much brighter.