Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z April Challenge: O is for Ollie

“We need to get together more often and not at a funeral.” How many times have you and a cousin said that? Funerals are much like a family reunion. You can learn a lot about a family just by looking at who showed up. Using my grandparents’ guest books and sympathy cards, I’ll be exploring “Who came to the funeral?

is for Ollie Dinkle Coakley Rucker. She was my grandparents’ sister-in-law, married to my maternal grandmother’s oldest brother Everett. Everett, baby brother Joe, and sister Rosalind sent flowers.


Seeing Ollie’s signature in the 1963 Guest Register for my grandfather’s funeral caused a momentary mental jarring. She signed “Ollie and Everett Rucker.” My entire life everyone in the family always referred to them as “Everett and Ollie.” Everett and Ollie are coming to visit. We’re going over to Everett and Ollie’s. Did you know Everett and Ollie moved?

See – it sounds so much better than “Ollie and Everett.” 

Ollie was born in 1902 to James and Annie McGlaughlin Coakley. She was one of seven girls and two boys. For a time, the Coakleys lived in Broadway, Rockingham County, Virginia before moving to the Ashby district around Dayton. (Here’s a funny family story:  Ollie had a sister named Willie who married a man named Shirley. I bet that confused a lot of people much of the time.)

When Everett and Ollie married in 1921, he was working for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. They left Shenandoah and moved to Washington D.C. before 1928, judging by the social column of the Richmond Times Dispatch article in 1928. Everett and Ollie visited his parents Joseph and Sudie Rucker.
Richmond Times Dispatch Aug 26, 1928

According to the 1930 census, Everett was working as a mechanic for the railroad. He retired from Union Station in 1962. They moved back to Shenandoah and lived in the house where Everett and my grandmother had grown up on Fourth Street.

Rucker House Fourth St, Shenandoah, VA
Rucker house on Fourth Street, Shenandoah, Virginia

Everett and Ollie had four children, two boys and two girls.

I have lost the memory of what Ollie looked like exactly, but she had full dark curly hair. She was sweet, just a sweet lady. Likewise Everett was a kind man. Many years ago I was contacted by a Rucker researcher who sent me copies of letters she received in reply to her inquiries about her ancestors. One was from Everett who promised to pass along whatever information he could.

Everett and Ollie are buried in the Methodist Church Cemetery in Shenandoah in a Rucker family plot. 

Ollie Rucker tombstone

You are under no obligation, but it would be obtuse for me to obstruct your odyssey to the A to Z April Challenge.

© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Was Ollie her real name? Or was it Olive?
    I love that you have the registers and cards from flowers :)
    I have the card from the flowers my dad sent to my mom on their first Christmas together.
    I love the social column from the newspaper....the little town I lived in in Utah in '84 still had one....and my husband's uncle wrote it.
    Happy A-Z!

    1. It's Ollie in the census and tombstone. I have never seen her name as Olive but I haven't looked hard either. I'm assuming it's really Ollie.

  2. I always loved Everett and Ollie's house. It was always so neat and clean. They both were so sweet.

    I guess the social column of the newspaper was the facebook of the time. =) If you agree SHARE...HA!

    1. Privacy settings won't allow all images to be seen. HA

  3. You have the most interesting names connected with your family!

  4. DO have the most interesting family names. I couldn't help but visualize the Headstone Maker scratching his head at which name to put first on Willie and Shirley's headstone. Either way it's for sure a head scratcher.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    Minion for AJ's wHooligans

    1. The Willie/Shirley piece was worth the little bit of research on Ollie. That's the kind of thing that always tickles me.

  5. I have a cousin Everett but Ollie? What was her full name or was that it? Unique. You are meeting the challenge with ingenuity & fun.

  6. That is a nice looking house they had! They do seem like a nice couple; I do agree Everett and Ollie sounds easier than Ollie and Everett; easier to say too!