July 2, 1939 – April 2, 2023
Ruby Yvonne McLaughlin Garrett was born July 2, 1939, to the late Daniel and Lucy McLaughlin in Danville, VA. After a courageous battle, Ruby transitioned peacefully and entered eternal rest on April 2, 2023, into the arms of the Lord.
The stars must have been aligned just right on the day she was born, for little did her parents know that she would be somewhat of a “musical prodigy”. “Itty” as she was called (short for Itsy Bitsy), was drawn to her mama’s old piano, often banging on the keys for hours! By the tender age of 7, she could play by ear “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Old McDonald”. Soon, Ruby could play any melody she heard. By the ripe old age of 10, she began playing for the Bethel Baptist Youth Choir. At fifteen, Ruby and her sisters, Dorothy and Evelyn “Jap”, formed a group simply called, “The McLaughlin Sisters”, where she honed her skills of playing, singing, stomping, clapping and shouting, “SANG”, all at the same time! The girls were a hit, singing at local churches and talent shows. Little did she know that someday she would be sharing her gift far away from Danville, VA.
On March 17, 1962, she said, “I do”, to Charles R. Garrett and she never looked back. As they traveled across the country, Ruby always found a church home and soon she would be asked to play for the choir. From New Hope Baptist in Anchorage, AK to Friendship Baptist in Seaside, CA and across the ocean in Germany, she was spreading the Word through gospel music. By 1972, she was back in her beloved Virginia.
For more than 20 years, Ruby was a dedicated employee at the Post Exchange, Fort Lee, VA. She held various positions with her favorite being a Fashion Fair Cosmetics Consultant. She loved making her clients feel glamourous, and enjoyed laughing her work day away with her cherished long-time girlfriends, Marlene, Fern and Virgie.
Ruby was one of the founding members of the Fort Lee Gospel Ensemble, which had all of five members. The Ensemble soon grew to over forty members! It was in 1986, when Brother Derr asked if she would play “a few tunes” with the choir of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. A few tunes turned into every Sunday and by 1987, she and Charles joined the Pleasant Grove Church family. She became the musician for the Mass and Combined Choirs. “Ever Ready Ruby,” affectionately called by her church family, continued her zest for music as she played for others such as: Church After Dark, Fort Lee Liberty Chapel, Interfaith Adult Day Care, the Annual Women in White program, and anywhere she was needed, she would go. Ruby retired from her ministry of music in 2017.
Family members preceding her in death; Dorothy Gunn (Edward) of Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Charles McLaughlin, Daniel (Kate) McLaughlin of Danville, Virginia; Paul McLaughlin (Marie) of Baltimore, Maryland.
Ruby is survived by her children: Jacqueline Jones, Charita Garrett and Vincent Garrett (Yolanda); grandchildren, Kristin (Tyré ), Dustin, Chantay, Roderick, Vincent Jr. and Miles; great grandchildren, Keshawn, Niyah, Levi, Kai and Laila Rose; sister, Evelyn Thomas (Melvin) of Gwynn Oak, Maryland; brother, Benjamin Wayne McLaughlin (Gwen) of Chillicothe, Ohio; beloved friends, Marlene Hampton, Fern White and Myrtle Wilson; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Services will be held 1:00 P.M., Saturday, April 8, 2023, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, 4405 Prince George Drive, Prince George, VA, the Rev. F. Lamont Gooding, Pastor and eulogist. The interment will be held 1:00 P.M., Monday, April 10, 2023, at Southlawn Memorial Park.
J.M. Wilkerson Funeral Establishment, Inc., 102 South Avenue, Petersburg, VA, (804) 732-8911, watch the funeral services live online at www.jmwilkersonsince1874.com.