Upon graduation from high school, Ruth's early aspiration was to become a professional ice skater. That, however, changed when she was accepted as a student at St. Mary School of Nursing in her hometown of Port Arthur. She became a registered nurse. She continued her education with Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Texas and UTMB, and a Doctorate in Education from Texas A & M University.
In 1966, as a young woman, Ruth became a pioneer in home health. She created and developed the first certified home health agency in Texas under the newly enacted provisions of the Medicare Program. Soon Ruth established her own home health agencies - Beaumont Home Health Service in Beaumont, TX, Port Arthur Home Health Service in Port Arthur TX, and Wichita Home Health Service in Wichita Falls, TX. As Owner and Administrator, she employed over 900 employees. In addition, she was co-founder of Crossroads Home Health Service in Victoria. Ruth's concept of nursing was Caring, Compassion and Commitment.
From her humble beginnings, Ruth evolved into a nationally recognized figure in home health care. In 1963, she was one of two nurses appointed by Texas Governor John Connally to serve on the Governor's Task Force for Mental Health Planning. Ruth was also selected by Texas Governor Mark White in 1983 to the Texas Home Health Advisory Council.
From 1964-1970 she became a charter member of the Texas Association for Home Care (TAHC) and subsequently a charter member of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). For many years, Ruth served in many capacities on the NAHC Board of Directors. In 1990, she was named a Founding Fellow of the NAHC Board. During her tenure at NAHC Ruth met many U.S. Presidents as well as U.S. Senators and U. S. House Representatives from almost every state.
In the meantime, Ruth married the love of her life Dr. George A Constant and moved to Victoria. Together, in 1975, they cofounded Hope of South Texas Suicide/Crisis Prevention Center and she continued to serve on the Board until her death. Also in 1975, Ruth worked with Dr. Roland Bing, Dean of Victoria College, to develop the Associate Degree Nursing Program there. She served as the initial Director of the Program from 1975-1979. In 2012 Ruth was elected President of the Victoria College Foundation Board of Directors having served two terms. Ruth was also a board member of the Victoria Devereaux Board of Directors.
Ruth was always enterprising. In 1982, she and her husband George brought local television to Victoria. They acquired the license, facilities and personnel to create KAVU, an NBC affiliate at the time. It is now known as the Victoria Television Group providing every major broadcast network.
Ruth enjoyed memberships in local civic organizations including the Rotary Club, where she was affectionately known for her "dumb blonde" jokes, and Decora Study Club. Other accolades bestowed on Ruth include the Rotary Club's Outstanding Vocational Achievement award; Victoria Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Health Care Practitioner of the Year award; TAHC Ida Mae Hebert Meritorious award, and together with her husband, Dr George Constant, the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Ruth was inducted into the TAHC Hall of Fame; NAHC Hall of Fame; the University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing Hall of Fame; received the UTMB Nursing President's Award as well as the School of Nursing Distinguished Alumnus award. Ruth was listed in the Dictionary of Distinguished Americans, Who's Who of American Women and Notable Women of Texas.
Ruth enjoyed traveling with husband George to locations all around the world. One of her favorite places was Las Vegas. She had many friends there and considered it her "home away from home".
Ruth Constant was beloved by her family, friends, employees and colleagues alike. She was a compassionate, caring person who believed that if a person has a choice, they should be allowed to be at home during severe illness and at the end of life. Ruth will always be remembered as an outstanding woman by all who were fortunate enough to know her. Hers was a life well lived.
In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband, George A Constant; daughter, Melinda Chester; brother, Carl Ellerbee, Jr; and stepson, Nicholas Constant.
She is survived by son, James D Chester; daughter, Rebecca L Chester; sister, Vera Monson; stepson, Anthony Constant and wife Madlyn, and daughters, Madlyn, Audrey and Ava; several nieces and nephews; and many friends.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 pm on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at Colonial Funeral Home, 1801 E Red River St, Victoria, TX. Funeral Service will be 10 to 11 am on Thursday, March 16, 2023 at First United Methodist Church, 407 N. Bridge St., Victoria, TX. Serving as pallbearers for Dr. Ruth Constant are Scott Bragg, Chief J J Craig, Bobby Everett, Christopher Krejci, Colby Schwartz, and Gary Worsham. Honorary pallbearers are Robert C Martin, Bill Blanchard, Members of the Rotary Club, members of the Board of Directors of: HOPE of South Texas, Victoria College Foundation, National Foundation for Hospice/Homecare, and The CARING Institute. Also, all employees and friends at Ruth Constant and Associates, Wichita Home Health Service in Wichita Falls, TX and Beaumont Home Health Service in Beaumont, TX.
Memorial contributions may be made on behalf of Ruth Constant to Hope of South Texas, Drs. George and Ruth Constant Endowed Scholarship Victoria College Foundation, Hospice of South Texas, and The Caring Institute.
The family extends its sincere gratitude to all who helped Ruth in her final days. Share memories and condolences with the family at www.colonialfuneralhomevictoria.com
Carl Ellerbee, Sr.Father (deceased)
Mary O'Grady EllerbeeMother (deceased)
Dr. George A. ConstantHusband (deceased)
James D. ChesterSon
Rebecca L. ChesterDaughter
Melinda ChesterDaughter (deceased)
Anthony and Madlyn ConstantStepson and Daughter in law
Madlyn, Audrey and Ava ConstantGrandchildren
Carl Ellerbee, Jr.Brother (deceased)
Nicholas ConstantStepson (deceased)
Ruth also leaves several nieces and nephews and many friends to cherish her memory.
Chief J.J. Craig
Robert C. MartinHonorary Pallbearer
Bill BlanchardHonorary Pallbearer
Northside Rotary Club MembersHonorary Pallbearers
Board of Directors of HOPE of South TexasHonorary Pallbearers
Board of Directors of Victoria College FoundationHonorary Pallbearers
Board of Directors of National Foundation for Hospice/HomecareHonorary Pallbearers
Board of Directors of The CARING InstituteHonorary Pallbearers
Staff of Ruth Constant and AssociatesHonorary Pallbearers
Staff of Wichita Home Health ServicesHonorary Pallbearers
Staff of Beaumont Home Health ServicesHonorary Pallbearers