Dorothy Ribble 1928-2018

Our mother, Dorothy Ribble, died in early February after suffering for many years from dementia. There’s a short obituary up at the Terrace Park funeral service web site, but I thought I’d expand it here. I’m leaving the photos full size so you can appreciate them on a large screen. I’ll start with the short obit:

Dorothy J. Ribble, 89, recently of Tallahassee, Florida died February 6th, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. She was born June 10th, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, to the late Francis and Tisha Coleman.

She grew up in the Village of Birmingham and graduated from North Kansas City High School in 1946. She worked for many years at the Union Pacific Railroad offices in Kansas City, Kansas, where she met her husband Carl. She was a member of the Union Pacific Old Timers Club and the Englewood Baptist Church. She was known for her ballroom dancing, from the Pla-Mor Ballroom to Sarasota, Florida, and a longtime resident of Gladstone.

She is survived by her sons Curtis of Rancho Mirage, California, and Dennis of Tallahassee, Florida, and her brother Lloyd Coleman of Colorado Springs, Colorado, nieces Karen (Coleman) Cunningham and Patricia (Coleman) Starks of Kansas City, and niece Kelly (Coleman) Solomito and nephew Kevin Coleman of Colorado Springs.

In addition to her parents, Dorothy is preceded in death by her husband Carl Ribble, who died in 1981; previous husband Clyde; and brother, Stanley Coleman.

Friends and Family will gather at 1:30 for a memorial service at 2 PM, Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at Terrace Park Funeral Home’s Lakeside Chapel, 801 NW 108th St. (169 Hwy & Shoal Creek) Kansas City, MO. She will be laid to rest next to her husband Carl at Terrace Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Share online condolences at

The next photo is one of my favorites of her at her kitchen table in the new house she had built for herself in Gladstone, c. 2000.

Dorothy Ribble

Her maternal grandparents, James and Katy Polston, who farmed near Warranton, MO. The pictures were most likely taken in the 1920s when they were quite old.

Katherine Wyoming (Jones) Polston, maternal grandmother, c 1920

Her mother Tisha was one of ten (?) children, and she married the older (for the time) Francis Marion Coleman in 1921 when he was 33. This picture is likely from the early 1920s:

Her parents Francis Marion and Tisha (Polston) Coleman, c 1921

Her parents Francis Marion and Tisha (Polston) Coleman, c. 1925

They settled in Birmingham, Missouri, a village in the Missouri River bottomlands not far from Liberty. Francis Coleman wangled an appointment from the Army Corps of Engineers to manage the Missouri River dredging operations, which included straightening oxbows with dynamite and dredging a deeper shipping channel up past Omaha.

Francis Marion Coleman at Missouri dredging operation, father, c. 1925

Francis Marion Coleman at Missouri River dredging, c. 1925

They had three chidren, first Stanley, then Dorothy, then Lloyd. The Depression hit, and tragedy struck in early 1938 when Francis was shoveling snow and ice to free up a railroad switch and died of a heart attack. He was buried in Liberty not far from the jail where Mormons were held before they left Missouri for Nauvoo, Illinois.

Dorothy was just nine years old, and the family had to get by without a father. Her mother took in laundry and cleaned houses to make extra money. Times were tough, and Dorothy was a rural kid going to a city high school, North Kansas City High, where most kids had nicer clothes. She felt left out and as a result always wanted nice clothes.

Fun times in Birmingham, with (presumably) Lloyd in the background

Tisha and Dorothy Coleman with Stanley’s house in background

With Lloyd?

At the lake.

On a bike in Birmingham

In wool suit (for work?)

With Lloyd

First row third from right, North Kansas City High School

Closeup, c 1946 (age 17)

She graduated from high school and went to a secretarial school to learn shorthand and typing, which won her a job at William Jewell College in Liberty doing office work. She took a few courses there and moved on to jobs in Kansas City. She loved dancing and spent time at the famous Pla-Mor Ballroom.

Christmas Pageant at the Pla Mor Ballroom, Kansas City, 1939

Christmas Pageant at the Pla Mor Ballroom, Kansas City, 1939

One evening she met Clyde, a dashing young soldier, while dancing at the Pla Mor. Clyde had been in the Army in the closing days of the war but then reupped for the Korean War and was stationed at Ft. Riley in Manhattan, KS, where their first child Dennis was born in 1950.

c. 1952, age 24

Clyde Scott, husband, c 1948

Studio photo, c 1948

Clyde Scott on a bike, Birmingham, c. 1948

With Clyde, c. 1948

Satin dress, with Clyde

With Clyde, c. 1948

Wedding in Birmingham, c. 1948

Dennis in Downey, California, where Clyde worked at aircraft plant, c. 1954

They lived in an apartment in Downey, California, while Clyde worked at an aircraft plant. They returned to Kansas City around 1955, where their second son, Curtis, was born. Meanwhile, her brothers Stanley and Lloyd married and started families.

Lloyd Coleman (younger brother)

Bonnie Coleman

Stanley (brother) and Mary Coleman, Mary, Patti and baby Karen, c. 1955

Tisha Coleman visiting Downey apartment

Tisha Coleman in her driveway

Dennis and Clyde, c. 1953

Dennis plays piano

Dennis with Clyde at bat, c. 1954 in Downey

Dorothy, Clyde, Dennis, and Curtis moved to a small house in Gladstone on Purcell Road, not far from the then-new Antioch Shopping Center. Clyde worked in TV repair and ran his own business outof the garage, but he soon started to show signs of mental illness — schizophrenia, which usually shows itself in the mid-20s. His interest in religion grew and he spent more time preaching in Pentacostal churches and revival meetings. By the time he was committed in 1961, he was getting into fights and disappearing for days at a time.

Dennis holding Curtis, Purcell Rd house, 1957

With Curtis and Dennis, c 1957

Curtis, original black and white Polaroid c. 1960

Clyde Scott, VA Hospital in Iowa, 1964

With two small children to support and no husband, Dorothy worked hard as a secretary to keep food on the table. Her life was difficult, but she luckily found a good job at Union Pacific in their offices in the Kansas City, Kansas railyard. She worked there for more than thirty years, and retired early when corporate consolidation hit.

Dennis and Curtis in Denver, c 1963

Nieces Karen and Patti

Her mother and aunts: Tisha, Beulah, Annie, Bessie in May 1989

Tisha Coleman, mother, c 1985

Carl Ribble was transferred from Salina to the KCK office and they married around 1970. Having two earners made a big difference and the family was more middle class. They were active and sometimes headed up the Union Pacific Oldtimers Club, a social group for UP employees.

Carl Ribble, second husband

Christmas c. 1978, with Daisy Ribble and Tisha Coleman

Carl and Dorothy Ribble c. 1975

Carl had a stroke and died while mowing the lawn around 1981, so she became a widow. Work kept her busy for years after that until her retirement at age 55 around 1983. She had an active social life, and moved for a time to Sarasota, Florida, to be near Dennis. She loved Sarasota because she could go to several ballroom dances every day and enjoy the attention of numerous eligible men because she was known as such a good dancer.

Visiting Palo Alto in 1997

Visiting San Francisco in 1997

Around 2010

Dorothy Ribble at MIT: 1996

Dorothy Ribble with Dennis Scott, Governor’s Mansion, Jefferson City, 1996

Dorothy Ribble at Stanford Chapel, 1999

When Dennis moved to Tampa for a new job, she returned to Kansas City and had a new house built in Gladstone. She continued to enjoy an active social life and visited her sons in Florida and California frequently. She enjoyed the new local casinos and continued to dance, though there were not as many opportunities as there had been in Sarasota.

Dorothy Ribble with builder at Heatherton Court house, 2002

Dorothy Ribble with Patti and Bill Starks, Mike and Karen Cunningham, 2002

Dorothy Ribble in her kitchen, 2002

Dorothy Ribble at Tech Sq, MIT, 2003

With Dennis at Lick Observatory, 2003

With Dennis in Sunnyvale, 2003

Tallahassee, 2004

San Francisco, 2005

80th Birthday party, 2008

Around 2011, her increasing dementia made it necessary for us to move her to assisted living at Wexford Place. She enjoyed it but as time went on her health issues increased, and she began to fall for no good reason.

At Nelson-Atkins Gallery, 2009

Convalescing from fall, 2011

At Mike and Karen’s with Mary and Pam, 2011

At Wexford for Christmas with Dennis and Curtis, 2011

We moved her to Memory Care at Wexford when their new wing opened up, and eventually moved her to a memory care facility close to Dennis in Tallahassee so he could visit her more often. Her decline continued and she started to spend most of her time asleep before the end, when her body shut down and she stopped eating. She passed quietly Feb. 6th, 2018, almost 90 years old, and will be buried next to Carl at the Terrace Park cemetery in Kansas City, North

Carl Ribble headstone, photo from Find-a-Grave