The Heroines

Ruth McClymonds

is honored with a Brick from Susan McKnight

 Ruth  McClymonds
Ruth Phelps McClymonds was born with an instinct for business on April 20, 1914 in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. The businesswoman in Ruth blossomed during the Depression when she owned and operated an employment agency in Jenkintown.

During World War II, she met her future husband, Sam McClymonds, in Philadelphia at a Navy League dance where Ruth was a hostess. They were married at the end of the war in 1945 and, despite her efforts to persuade Mac to stay in Pennsylvania, they moved to her husband's native state of Kansas. "You can't change a Kansan, so I moved," she said. Ruth and Mac were married 55 years and she learned that "Kansas is a nice place and the people are real nice."

Ruth's love of business bloomed in Wichita. For 35 years, she and her partner Glendora Henson ran Remembrance Flower Shop located in Prairie Village Center at the corner of 13th Street and Woodlawn. "It was fun but a lot of work." Her "lovely" niece Susan McKnight, a well-known Wichita florist, started her own career at age 14 working for Ruth and Glendora at Remembrance Flowers.

It is no surprise that her love of flowers grew out of a love of gardening. Her mother, Blanche Phelps, was a well-known garden expert who made several appearances on The Merv Griffin Show. Ruth has been active in Botanica's Project Beauty and suburban garden clubs. And love of animals led her to lend years of service to the Wichita Humane Society board.

Ruth's life has required her to be a survivor. When Remembrance Flowers was hit by a tornado in 1964, she and Glendora lost everything in the shop but the cooler that held flowers for four weddings, all of which were safely delivered the next day. She and Mac lived through the 1991 Andover tornado that destroyed their home on the lake in the Springdale addition and left them with serious injuries. "We lost everything but the animals." It took eight days, but all of their four animals were found. Ruth also has survived the loss of her husband Mac. Recently, she survived an accident with a cement truck that totaled her Cadillac. But she continues to embrace life with infectious enthusiasm.

June 26, 2002