Deloris L Ruddock
September 16, 1923 – March 27, 2021
Deloris was born in 1923 in Washington, D.C. to Lawrence and Vella Ruddock. After her parents separated, Deloris, her sister Peggy, and their father shared a house with the Quisenbury family. There Deloris and Peggy became like sisters with the 2 Quisenbury daughters, Phyllis and June, who were their same ages. That sister relationship lasted all their lives. She graduated from Cardoza High School, Class of 1943, and later became active in their Alumnae group.
In October of ’43, she enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps of the U.S. Army, and was assigned as a Postal Clerk to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only African-American Women’s Battalion to serve overseas in World War II. The Six Triple Eight was stationed successively in Birmingham (England), Rouen (France), and Paris (France) where each time, they were given six months to clear a backlog of over two years’ worth of mail in the European Theater of Operations. Their unit motto was “No Mail, Low Morale,” and so, determined to raise troop morale, they cleared those backlogs of mail in three months each, half the time allotted. Mission accomplished, the unit was returned stateside. Deloris received her honorable discharge at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and returned home to Washington, D.C.
Deloris used the G.I Bill to attend The Traphagen School of Fashion in Manhattan, completing the Costume Design and Illustration course in February 1951, and winning a contest in costume design. Finding there weren’t many jobs in Fashion, Deloris went to work for Citicorp, then the First National City Bank of New York, and stayed there for over 25 years. While living in NY, she met Harry Heldoorn and gave birth to her only child, Patricia. After retiring from the bank, she picked up and drove herself to southern California, just because she always wanted to. There, she started a new career in retail, mostly with Neiman-Marcus, and made their Top Sales Club twice.
Deloris returned to D.C. to be near family. Her sister introduced her to National City Christian Church where Deloris became a faithful and active member, attending Sunday school and Church every Sunday, working in the Food Pantry every Wednesday, and coordinating the Angel Tree at Christmas. In 2018, Deloris was asked about her Army service and the 6888th. She didn’t think it was much to talk about, but being her sharp and funny self, she charmed all of her interviewers and audiences. Every time, she said she wasn’t going to do this again; then she did it and came home excited and glowing. Along with four other surviving members of the unit, she attended the dedication of the 6888th CPDB Monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in November 2018. She credits Mr. Carlton Philpot, Commander, US Navy, RET, with bringing the 6888th to the national spotlight and getting them recognition for their service.
Deloris quietly departed life on March 27, 2021 at Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring, Maryland. She was predeceased by her sister last September. Left to cherish her loving memory are her daughter, Patricia Heldoorn, her nephews, Lance Ward and Donald Haynes, her niece Saundra Dempsey, her very close friends June Quisenbury, Laurese Dancy, Elizabeth Helm-Frazier, and Eddie Franklin. Her loss is also felt by her extended family, her many friends, and the organizations she was involved with and cherished: her church, Cardoza HS Alumnae, the NV, Ch33 ARMY WOMEN’S VETS, the 6888th family.
In lieu of flowers, please honor the life of Ms. Deloris L. Ruddock by donating to any of the following:
1. Military Women’s Memorial, 200 N Glebe Rd Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22203 Make checks out to MWM In memory of the Service of Ms. Deloris L. Ruddock,6888TH CPDB
2. The National City Christian Church- 5 Thomas Circle NW, Washington, D.C 20005 ATTN: The Food Pantry On the memo line write - In memory of the Service of Ms. Deloris L. Ruddock Make checks out to National City Christian Church
3. The Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund of Congregation Tiferes Yisroel. 6201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore MD 21215. Make check to: Congregation. Tiferes Yisroel RDF. In the memo line: in memory of Deloris Ruddock
4. Holy Cross Hospital, 1500 Forest Glen Rd, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910 Donate: https://www.holycrosshealth.org/assets/documents/foundation/holy-cross-health-community-pledge-fillable-form_Oct-2020
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