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Longtime Pine Island resident Rubye Woodhead dies

March 13, 2019
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Longtime Pine Island resident Rubye Woodhead passed away while in hospice care in Virginia Sunday, March 3. The Woodheads, Rubye and husband Walt, moved to Pine Island in 1988.

Rubye Pharr was born on May 13, 1931, one of five children, near Atlanta, Georgia. Her father was an electrical engineer with the Rural Electrification Administration. The REA was created to provide farms with inexpensive electric lighting and power.

While living in Silver Spring, Maryland, Rubye attended local Washington, D.C., schools and graduated from the University of Maryland with degrees in math and physics in 1953. Eight days after graduating, she married Walter Clarence Woodhead,

Article Photos

Rubye Woodhead

Shortly after their marriage Walter joined the Air Force and the couple moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they lived for three years.

After returning to the D.C. area, Walter finished college and became a buildings manager for the federal government. He managed the White House from 1968 until Richard Nixon left office in 1973, while Rubye worked as an analyst in Silver Spring.

Walter had a passion for sports cars and the two were members of the Washington Porsche Club. It was their membership in the club that indirectly brought them to Pine Island.

At one of the car shows, the Woodheads met Sonny Koutsoutis, whose parents owned a house on Pine Island.

"Rubye and I just hit it off from the start," Koutsoutis said. "When Rubye mentioned she and Walt were taking a vacation to Florida, I suggested they take a look at Pine Island. I think they bought their house on that first visit."

The Woodheads would be "snowbirds" for the next seven years until Walter died in 1995. A short time later, Rubye moved to Pine Island full time.

"After Walt died, Rubye really got involved with many of the organizations on the island," Koutsoutis said. "She was a longtime member of the American Legion, Ladies of the Elks, Pine Island Lions, F.I.S.H., Calusa Land Trust and numerous others."

In May 2018, the Calusa Land Trust honored Rubye with the dedication of "Rubye's Pond" in the Weigert Barron Preserve."When the announcement was made at the CLT annual meeting that Rubye had decided it was time to leave the island to go live near family in Virginia, Judy Ott said, "Rubye has not only been an outstanding member of the Calusa Land Trust but an outstanding member of the Pine Island community for a very long time ... I wish you would stand with me and give her a standing ovation. Rubye leaving the island will leave a big hole in our hearts."

In September, a luncheon was held at El Polo Rico in Rubye's honor. More than 50 friends came to say goodbye.

"The one thing I hate about leaving this community is that it is a strong community where people care about each other," Rubye said. "It's always been like that from before the time my husband and I got here in 1988."

Pink Wesorick had known Rubye for more than 20 years.

"Rubye and I were very involved with the Calusa Land Trust and some other activities, " Wesorick said. "Rubye got here about 10 years before my husband Ron and I. I met Rubye while I was walking my dog she lived one street over. You know when you've met a friend right from the start."

In October of last year, Rubye sold her house and moved closer to family in Williamsburg, Virginia. Last week Rubey's daughter Belinda notified Pine Island of her mother's passing.

"Rubye was a treasure," Koutsoutis said. "One of the funny things she always said was 'I came to Pine Island and never left.' After her husband Walt died, Norm Gowan asked her to be secretary of the Calusa Land Trust. She gave a lot of herself to the Trust and to Pine Island. I can also say when she took something on, she did it right. I miss her every day."

"My respect and admiration of Rubye began with my service as CLT president," John Kendall said. "Rubye was my supporter and counselor, she was sage and industrious, all with a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. Rubye was truly a gallant woman who has enriched Pine Island lives. We will all miss her."

"Rubye was a member of the Lions for over 20 years," president Mary Vonburg said. "Rubye was our decorator and managed every event getting things ready. Rubye was a very unique personality and Pine Island will miss her. I do wish we could have thanked her one more time... I wish we could have hugged her one more time."

Cards and letters may be sent to:

The Woodhead Family

407 Cockletown Road

Yorktown VA 23692



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