Jessie Kemp Ruddle McCamon of Topeka, Kansas died peacefully on January 3 with her daughter by her side. Her two children Mike and Lea had been with her during the final days of her life after being admitted into the hospital on the 30th for health issues (non-Covid related). She was 80 years old.
Born in Oklahoma, “Jeannie” spent much of her childhood in and around Stigler, Moffatt, Briartown, Arkoma, and mostly Keoto, Oklahoma - the latter of which she proudly claimed as her hometown. Following her retirement she often visited in addition to exhibiting her genealogy and local research at Old Settlers’ Days. Her lifelong connection to the area made her always excited to read the latest issues of the Stiger State Sentinel until her death.
As a teenager her family moved to Wichita where she graduated from Derby High School in 1958. After later graduating from Wesley Nursing School, she was a nurse for decades at Wesley Medical Center and the Sedgwick County Health Department. Jessie was a life-long learner not only getting her Masters Library Science but also her Bachelors in History and another in Nursing. Health challenges nudged her into retirement in her late 50s and about five years ago she moved to Topeka to be closer to her children and grandchildren.
Jessie’s passion was genealogy - a hobby she pursued for 50+ years long before the internet and computer searches. She was grateful for the help of her extended network of cousins and the communities in Stigler and Keota to help her with her research. In the end, her work traced the family far and wide back to the Old World, her Choctaw heritage, and even as some of the first settlers of Florida before statehood and New Amsterdam (NYC). Her final research project was to inventory the original farmhouses in and around Derby, Kansas which she took great pride in exhibiting at the Derby Historical Society Museum.
Jessie had a long list of heroes. Her children and grandchildren, her mother Jessie Jean Kemp and her maternal grandmother Dora Kemp. Her siblings Charles Ruddle, Wayne Ruddle, Barbara Yoho, and Jackie Lee Norris. Her step-parents Jack Norris and Miriam Ruddle. The extended Kemp family, the aunts, uncles, and cousins who welcomed her and her siblings into their homes. Sharon Jose, a head nurse who treated her with such respect and provided the best leadership of her long career. The many co-workers, RNs, LPNs, and nurse aids who taught her what she didn’t learn in nursing school. The patients who shared their stories and knowledge.
Blessed are those with a loving family who find a hobby they truly enjoy. No services are planned. She is survived by her half brother Jackie Lee Norris of Searcy, Arkansas and her children, Mike of Overland Park, Kansas and Lea of Topeka, Kansas along with their families of five grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations in Jessie’s name to the Derby, Kansas Historical Society or the Haskell County, Oklahoma Historical Society.
More Memories about Jessie by her son Mike