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Ruby Choate followed her dream


   Ruby Annette Jones Choate was born on May 17, 1940, to Helen McCurtain Jones Taylor and Crosby Wilson Jones in the town of Unger, Okla., which is between Soper and Boswell.

   She never knew her biological father due to divorce, but was raised by Joseoh Taylor. She is the oldest of six children in her family.Ruby Navy

   Her great-uncle John Edward, an Indian doctor delivered her unto her mother. This man was one of the last Indian doctors to treat illness with herbs and roots. People would come all the way from New York and California to see this particular doctor.

   Her stepfather was able to speak the Choctaw language, but he was in the service, so he did not get the chance to pass it on to his children.

   Her mother, whose father was three quarters Choctaw, went to Goodland Boarding School and was not allowed to speak Choctaw, therefore never learning it.

   Ruby attended school in Hodgen, a small community near Poteau, for her first grade year of school. She then went to Antlers from second to twelfth grade. She graduated from Antlers on May 23, 1958, and joined the Navy. She was sworn into service on the first of June that year. 

   She went to Bainbridge, Md., for boot camp and then on to Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill., for 12 weeks of training there. She was trained in many duties of a nurse and was then sent to work in a hospital in Newport, R.I.

   She worked in intensive care and maternity for the hospital. After about three years with the service, she finished her service to the Navy and decided to move back to Antlers.

   Her mother and family had moved to Oklahoma City after she graduated, so it was lonely in her hometown. She worked there for about a month before moving to Oklahoma City with her family.

   When she got to Oklahoma City she began work at the Wesley Foundation Hospital. There, she worked as an aide until she was asked to work in surgery as an aide. For this job, she would sterilized medical instruments and cleaned the operating rooms thoroughly between operations.

   When she was in the Navy, she was encouraged to attend R.N. School, but she did not care to go because of the time she would have been required to stay after her training was done. She was dating her future husband at the time and did not want to make a long-term commitment to the Navy.

   After spending two years with the hospital in Oklahoma City, she came back to Southern Oklahoma. She married Lyman Choate on June 9, 1962, at the Yashau Indian Methodist Church.

   The wedding was held in the parsonage of the church. Not many people were able to attend due to transpiration issues.Ruby Wedding

   After their wedding, the couple lived in several places in the Broken Bow area. They moved around until the bought a home in Hochatown, which is 12 miles north of Broken Bow. Hochatown is now at the bottom of Broken Bow Lake and all of its landmarks and building were moved north.

   They moved into that house around the same time their fourth child. There children in order of birth are; Lymona Helen, Lydia Gayle, Lynda Beth, Randall Allen and Russell Lyman, who was born later.

   During her many years of training to be a nurse, Ruby had cared for a multitude of children. She delivered children, baby sat them and raised them. She had always wanted big family because she loved children.

   Once Russell was in kindergarten, Ruby went back to nursing school in Idabel. Classes were held at the hospital. By that time they had a car and she drove herself to her classes.

   Ruby had always wanted to be a nurse. She remembers going into the Navy for just that reason; to get the training she needed to become what she had always wanted to be. She did not know the difference in a R.N. and a L.P.N., but always knew she should be a nurse.

   Her mother used to tease her saying, "I don't know how you can want to be a nurse. You walk into a doctor's office and you get dizzy just from the smell of alcohol." Regardless of her intolerance of alcohol smell, Ruby had been determined to be a nurse her whole life. She greatly appreciated her training she got in the Navy.

   It took Ruby a year to get her L.P.N. Her sister was the one who encouraged her to apply for the program saying, "Ruby, with all the experience you have, why don't you apply." She got in very easily upon applying.

   There were 18 students in her class and she graduated at the top. She had been an average student in high school, but when doing something she loved, she excelled.

   She earned straight As in her classes, and her instructors told her, "We didn't give it to you, you earned it." She got Nurse of the Year for that class.

   From there, she went to work in a job that was similar to that of home health work. She did this through the OSU Extension Center in Idabel. She would travel around McCurtain County to the home of people over 55 years old, monitoring their health and making sure they had everything they needed.

   Ruby described what she did as sort of a pilot program for what home health agencies do today. She worked there for a year and kept in contact with the Broken Bow Clinic.

   She got a job with the clinic in 1980 and stayed at the job until she retired in 2002. A few years into her time there, the Choctaw Nation took over the clinic and everyone had to reapply for their jobs with Choctaw Nation.

   When many were afraid they would not get hired back to their jobs, Ruby did not have that fear. She knew she was well trained and could have a job at other places. She had no problem keeping her job under the new management.

   Ruby remembers her time with the clinic with much fondness. She had a job and five children, but never missed a ballgame or school play. She did not have to work weekend and got off at a good time daily to get back home to her family.

   Since her retirement, Ruby has spent much time with her grandchildren and at the Senior Center with her fellow Choctaw Seniors. Lyman does wood sculptures and the couple enjoy going to sculpting shows and museums.

This article and others came from the Choctaw Nation Biskinik. To see more history please refer to the following sites.
Sounds of Choctaw - Social Greeting
Sounds of Choctaw - Weather
Lesson of the Day