Barbara “Ruby” Stephanie Prince, 80, passed away Saturday July 6, 2019, at her home in Little River, KS.
She was born Dec. 31, 1938, in Johnstown, PA, to Stephen Makuhan and Martha Medvesky Makuhan, both of whom came to the United States by boat through Ellis Island from Czechoslovakia. Her mother died in 1950 when she was 11 and it greatly impacted her life.
She graduated from Central High School in Paterson, NJ, and went briefly to beauty school before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, where she served as a stewardess from 1957 to 1958. She was very proud of her military service and attended Windom, KS, Elementary School’s veteran’s appreciation service for many years. She met Wayne Everett Prince in the Air Force and married him on March 3, 1958, in Charleston, SC. They had four children and lived military life until he retired, later divorcing in 1984.
She completed several classes at Hutchinson Community College and worked for many years at Hutchinson Hospital in the dietary department as office manager. She also worked as a stay-at-home mom and homemaker, a cake decorator out of her home and later at Baskin Robbins in Hutchinson and a grocery store in Lompoc, CA, concessions at the Hutchinson bowling alley, the Cheese and Party Pantry in Hutchinson, Hickory Farms in Austin, TX, an obituary writer for the Hutchinson News and a home health aide while in her 70s, assisting ladies in their 90s in Lompoc, CA.
She lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, California, Virginia, Ohio, Texas, North Carolina, Japan, Turkey and Kansas, and through the Air Force travelled the world, seeing many countries and sites, including the Acropolis in Greece. She moved back to Hutchinson in 2011 and to Little River in 2015.
Throughout her life, she attended Catholic churches all over the world, though most often at Holy Cross and St. Teresa in Hutchinson, and Our Lady of Guadalupe in South Hutchinson. Since 2015, she primarily attended Little River Congregational Church, where she participated in a ladies Bible study faithfully every Wednesday, potlucks, Women’s Fellowship, the annual Church Kids’ Carnival and Church Sale Bazaar, and one year of Vacation Bible School. She was a very spiritual person and loved the Lord.
She always volunteered and had at times helped Reins of Hope in Hutchinson, an animal shelter in California, Boy Scouts, other churches, her kids’ elementary schools and most recently the Little River Senior Center and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Reno County.
She was an avid reader, Star Trek fan, Elvis fan, gardener and walker, and enjoyed many years of line dancing. She was an artist with more than 70 paintings, many of which she gave to friends and family, and one of them won 2nd place at the Kansas State Fair. The last painting she completed was for her grandson, which was waiting at Hobby Lobby to be picked up the day she passed away. She enjoyed watching her grandson play basketball, as well as making food for him and all his friends, and also loved attending all Little River high school sporting events. She enjoyed watching the news, afternoon talk shows and NCIS, cleaning her home, doing anything she could to help others and treating herself with tea, peanut butter M&Ms and Baskin Robbins ice cream.
She was particularly proud to be the cousin of Sgt. Michael Strank, U.S. Marine Corps, who was one of the soldiers depicted in photos and statues of the flag-raising at Iwo Jima in 1945 during World War II. She remembered meeting him at a family gathering when she was five years old and he was home on leave.
She was a feisty, outspoken, independent lady her entire life.
She is survived by four children: Stephanie and Jason Young, Little River, KS, Steve and Niki Prince, Wichita, KS, Mike and Cheryl Prince, Jeffersonton, VA, and David Prince, Wichita, KS; eight grandchildren: Brady Obley, Little River, KS, Shelly Prince, Wichita, KS, Susie and Matt Urban, Wichita, KS, Tiffany and Carl Wakely, Couze St. Front, France, Brittany and Jorge Taveras, Lakewood, WA, Joseph Prince, Jeffersonton, VA, Jordan and Kristin Carter, Greenville, NC, and Corey and Caitlin Young, Buhler, KS; five great-grandchildren; two sisters, Dorothy Struhar, Honolulu, HI, and Theresa Vandenburgh, Goshen, NY; three nieces, one nephew, eight great-nieces and great-nephews, one great-great-nephew; two sisters-in-law , many niece-and-nephews-in-law; and many, many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, ex-husband and two nephews.
Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday July 13 at Birzer Funeral Home, 214 West Ave S, Lyons, KS. Funeral will be 1 p.m. Sunday July 14 at Little River Congregational Church, 410 Clinton St., Little River, KS, with Pastor Ted Weis officiating, followed by burial at Bean Cemetery, Little River, KS. Following burial, cookies and coffee will be served at Little River Congregational Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Reno County or Little River Congregational Church in care of Birzer Funeral Home.