Ruth Marie Kern
RUTH MARIE KERN, 92, went home to be with the Lord on Friday afternoon, the 6th of May 2005 in Houston,TX. She was born in Trinidad, Texas on April 24th, 1913, the seventh of eight children born to Maggie Sutherlin Russell and Thomas Moore Russell. Marie's life was characterized by her boundless energy, tireless service to her community and most of all deep love for the Lord, her family and her church. She graduated from Athens High School in Athens, Texas where she was all state center on the Lady Hornets State AAU Championship basketball team of 1930. Marie went on to play basketball for Randolph College in Cisco, Texas where her team won the National A.A.U. Championship. She came to Houston in 1932 where she met and married C.V. Buster Kern in 1934. He rose through the ranks of the Houston Police Department, served as a Deputy United States Marshal, and was elected Sheriff of Harris County in 1948, an office he held for 24 years. Marie was his most ardent supporter throughout his many years of public service. Marie joined Second Baptist Church in 1939 when it was located downtown on the corner of Milam and McGowen, and over the past 6 decades had the joy of contributing to the life of the church in countless ways. She was a charter member and past president of the Mary-Martha Bible Class and served three terms as president of the Woman's Missionary Union. As long as she was able, she faithfully greeted visitors every Sunday and made them feel welcome. In 1961 she was honored as one of Houston's 10 Women of Achievement and Houston's Outstanding Volunteer Service Worker for her contributions to the community including years of involvement with the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show-benefiting Texas Children's Hospital and the Arabian Horse Show, benefiting the Prevention of Blindness. She served president of the Board of Directors of Day Care Home, a center for children from single parent homes and was involved in the early days of the March of Dimes Campaign. She was a Life Member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, served on and helped establish many Rodeo committees through the years. When Houston Baptist University (HBU) was just a dream in the minds of the founders, Marie shared the vision of a Christian institution of higher education in Houston that would meet the needs of generations yet to come. She worked toward that goal and passed on that vision to countless others. Marie was a charter member and past president of the both the HBU Auxiliary and the HBU President's Advisors Guild (1987-88) and established an endowed scholarship at HBU in honor of her late husband. In 1984 she was awarded an honorary membership in Houston Junior Woman's Club in recognition of her time, inspiration and encouragement to the group. Marie was preceded in death by her husband, C.V. "Buster" Kern in 1981; brothers, Tommy Carl Russell and William Richardson Russell; sisters, Christine Adell Mayhew, Inez Moore Link, Jewel Amanda Warrington and Della J. Warrington; and her dear son-in-law, L. Ray Dunwoody. She leaves a living legacy in the hearts of those who remain behind - - her devoted daughter, Faye Kern Dunwoody; her beloved younger sister, Fay Ann Powers; and her three dearly loved grandchildren; Sharon Dunwoody Ratliff and her husband James, Grant Vincent Dunwoody and his wife Monica, and Rayford Scott Dunwoody and his wife Lisa, all of Houston. Marie is also survived by her five precious great-grandchildren; Timothy Kyle Ratliff, Aaron Curtis Ratliff, Christina May Dunwoody, Elizabeth Raye Dunwoody, and Travis Scott Dunwoody. She will be dearly missed by her nieces, nephews, extended family, friends, her loyal caregivers these past nine years, and the many whose lives she touched. On Monday evening, friends gathered in the library of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons in Houston,TX to visit with the family and share their memories of Marie. A private graveside service, to be attended by the family, will be conducted this morning at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston. A celebration of her life will be conducted at noon today, the 10th of May, in the Sanctuary of Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Drive in Houston, with Dr. H. Edwin Young, Pastor, and Dr. E. D. Hodo, President of HBU, co-officiating. In lieu of usual remembrances, those desiring may direct contributions in her memory to the C.V. Buster Kern Endowed Academic Scholarship established at Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren Road, Houston, TX, 77074, or to the Missions at Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway Dr., Houston, TX, 77057.