On May 23rd, 2013, my grandmother Ruth Ladd passed away at the age of 98.

On June 1st, 2013, I have begun a project to collect some photos of Ruth,

and to edit and post an interview with her about her life taken 7 years prior.

The video was very kindly filmed by Frey Hoffman, on Thursday, October 5th, 2006,

in Chicago, Illinois, two days prior to the wedding of

Ruth's granddaughter, my sister, Alison Ladd.

Ruth was 91 years old at the time.

The location was the living room of Ruth's daughter, Barbara Harris.


In the following video, Ruth describes what she knows of her own forebears. Her ancestors have been in this country since the 1600's, settling first in North Carolina, then Kentucky and eventually in southern Illinois.


Ruth was born January 11, 1915. Her parents were Clint and Bessie Cockelreas. She discusses her parents and other relatives that raised her as a child in this next video.

Ruth's mother, Bessie.

Ruth's father, Clint.

In the short clip below, Ruth describes the tradition of "shivaree."

For more on this, see the Wikipedia article on Charivari.

On religion:

On high school in Decatur, Illinois and the Illinois Amish.

On going to college and meeting Thaddeus:

On her first impressions of Thaddeus:

On Thaddeus' mother:

On her trip to Mexico prior to Barb's birth:

Those waterfalls were probably at the Parque Cascada de Guadalupe.

Family in the 1950s

Thaddeus was exempt from going to WWII because of his civilian job, which was to put the sewage system in at Great Lakes Naval Base. His job gave him a government car which was a real bonus because cars just weren't available during the war years.

Barb was born in 1940. Ruth and Thaddeus bought their first house in 1941, in Lincolnwood. Tom was born in 1944.

In this video Ruth discusses raising a family in the 1950s:

On Barb and Tom in school:

Working mother

Somewhere around the middle of the '50's she started working. That was very unusual at that time when stay-at-home moms were the norm.

A trip to East Germany in the late 1960s:

On Barb and Gene's wedding, and meeting Gene for the first time:

On Tom and Pam's wedding:

Family in the 21st century

In the following video, Ruth discusses the status of her family at the time of the interview, beginning with her new dog, Sadie. At the time of this interview Tom was living with her again, and Barb and Ruth had just returned from a much-enjoyed paddle-boat river cruise on the Columbia, Snake and Williamette rivers in Oregon.

Life in Scottsdale house

Ruth and Thaddeus moved two more times (to a larger house in Lincolnwood and then to a condo in Buffalo Grove) before settling permanently in Scottsdale, Arizona around 1975. After moving to Arizona, Thaddeus' health started to deteriorate, very slowly at first. He died in 1996 and for the 8 years or so before that, he required a lot of supervision. Ruth spent a great deal of time in his care.

One of her passions has always been to play bridge.

She is a duplicate bridge player with master points and travels to tournaments.

Until the end she remained sharp as a tack and fun-loving. She continued to drive very well and do her own shopping etc.

The housing complex where she lived, Scottsdale House, has about 280 units and a 2 million dollar budget. Ruth was the first woman to be elected to the board of directors and eventually was president of the board. She discusses Scottsdale House in the following video:

A photo of Thaddeus from June 1966

Press photo from the Chicago Sun-Times