Mrs. Ruby Jean R. Neilson, 98, widow of the late Gordon J. Neilson, died April 1, 2023 in Amarillo, TX. She was born April 9, 1924 in Tyler, TX to the late Lester Bennie Renfro and Gertrude “Trudie” Velma Lochridge Renfro. She was a 1941 graduate of Tyler High School, and a graduate of the University of Houston in 1966 with a degree in elementary education. Before and during World War II she was a news reporter for the Camden (AR) News, the Texarkana Gazette, and the Tyler Courier-Times-Telegraph, where she first met her future husband. They were married in the chapel at Camp Fannin, which was near Tyler, on October 9, 1943.
After the war they moved to Wisconsin for several years, where her husband was from, and then back to Tyler. After several years a job took them to Houston, where they lived for almost 20 years. They returned to Tyler in 1973, where they were both active in real estate and members of First Presbyterian Church. She was also an antique dealer and a genealogist, being a founding member of the East Texas Genealogical Society.
As a widow, in 1999 she moved to Hillsboro to be near family. While in Hillsboro she was a member of Hillsboro’s First Presbyterian Church. She and a few friends started a group called The Yarn Spinners, who met weekly and made prayer shawls which they gave away to shut-ins and nursing homes. In 2014 she moved to Amarillo to live out her remaining years close to family.
She is survived by a daughter Laurie Neilson Dellis and her husband Michael D. Dellis of Amarillo, TX, and a son James R. Neilson and his wife Ria S. Neilson of Nokomis, FL. Also five grandchildren, Jeff Dellis and wife Eva of White Salmon, WA; Mark Dellis and wife Dr. Deena Hassan of Los Angeles, CA; Dr. Robert Neilson and wife Anne Morrison of Bend, OR, James R. Neilson, Jr. of Alexander, NC; Alexandra Neilson of Minneapolis, MN.; 2 great-grandsons Dorian and Silus Dellis and 1 great-granddaughter Mars Dellis; 2 nieces Dianna Presley of Belton, TX and Carol Turner of Round Rock, TX and a cousin Linda Herrod and husband Ronnie of Vicksburg, MS.
She was preceded in death by a son, Gordon Jeffers “Jeffie” Neilson, II in 1960, her father in 1978, her husband in 1994, her mother in 2000, and a sister, Melrose Renfro Rhoden in 2009.
Services will be graveside at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler, TX yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Gordon J. and Ruby J. Neilson Scholarship Fund at the University of Texas at Tyler, or the charity of your choice.