Cover photo for Ruthe 'Dutchess' E. Overton's Obituary
Ruthe 'Dutchess' E. Overton Profile Photo

Ruthe 'Dutchess' E. Overton

d. August 31, 2014

Ruthe 'Dutchess' E. Overton

Ruthe 'Dutchess' E. Overton, 71, of 47 Asbury Manor W., Meadville, passed away Monday, September 1, 2014, at Meadville Medical Center.

Dutchess was born in Akron, OH on March 8, 1943 to the late James and Katherine (Barkley).

At the age of two she came to Meadville to live with her Grandparents, Bud and Goldie Ritchie. At a very early age Dutchess discovered the piano and the music it could bring. Rev. Ritchie brought home guest quartets from church. As they rehearsed for afternoon programs, Dutchess would join them on piano and learned their songs by ear. Later Bethel A.M.E., the Towne Club and other clubs paid the $50.00 fee for piano lessons. Dutchess became a Community Project. As such, she has given back as much as she received.

Dutchess is the oldest of four siblings, Sydney Williams, Calvin Barkley, both of Buffalo, NY and Loretta Cunningham of Meadville. She was raised with her Aunt Sandy Ritchie who was like a sister to her, as well; this large family with eight Aunts and Uncles and a myriad of cousins and close neighborhood friends shaped Dutchess sense of community and volunteerisms. This was the village that raised the child. Everyone was your mother and father and often gave spankings if they caught you doing wrong. They then took you home where you got another one.

Dutchess began playing the piano at Bethel at age 15; and continued until her death at the age of 71, 56 years of dedication to God, her Church and her Community. At Bethel Dutchess was President of the Emogene Allen Womens Missionary Society, and Steward.

She married Kenneth J. Overton in 1962; born to this union were two children, Kathryn L. Byrd (Sam Jr.) deceased and Susan Pardee (Craig), two stepchildren Karen and Andrew Overton, six grandchildren, Kassandra Bragg (Joshua), Jason Beaford (Meghan), Samantha Beaford, Sam Byrd III, Kenneth Byrd (Jaimee) and Killian Byrd, seven great-grandchildren; Angel, Kayla, Caleb, Joeb, Traesaan, Kaelyne, Zariah.

Dutchess graduated from Geneva College with a BS in Human Resource Management. She had also attended Alliance, Allegheny and Edinboro University.

She retired from Child Care Information Services as Social Worker.

Fraternally she was Past Matron of Abigail Chapter No. 22 Order of Eastern Star, Deborah Grand Chapter, also served as 8th District Deputy Grand Matron for three administrations. She was State Grand Loyal Lady Priestess Emeritus Pa, State Grand Assembly. She served as Past Commandress of Pharoah Court #196 and Imperial Deputy of the Oasis.

Wife, mother, community person and fraternal member, Dutchess has done it all. Her motto is 'It isnt important how you treat me, only how I treat you.'

Family and friends are invited to call on Friday from 2-4 and 6-8 at Stephen P. Mizner Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 404 Chestnut St., Meadville.

A Homecoming Service will be held at Bethel AM & E Church, 961 Liberty St., Meadville, at 2:00 PM on Saturday, September 6, 2014, with Rev. Tiffany Holden, Pastor, officiating.

Dutchess will be laid to rest in Greendale Cemetery, West Mead Twp.

Memorial contributions may be made to Bethel AM & E Church, 961 Liberty St., Meadville, PA 16335.

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