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Utah icon, Ruby Price, becomes a centenarian

By Janae Francis, Standard-Examiner Staff - | Dec 13, 2015
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Ruby Price smiles at daughter Deon Price after receiving a ring for her 100th birthday Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, at her home in Layton. The ring included her birthstone and two birthstones representing two great grandchildren.

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Ruby J. Price, Layton, turned 100 on Dec. 13, 2015. This photo appears on Ruby's Facebook page identifying her and her "husband of 60 years, Ralph Price Sr. This was us in the '60s."

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Ruby J. Price, Layton, turned 100 on Dec. 13, 2015. This photo is from 1985.

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Ruby Price holding her 1976 Mother of the Year award. She was the first black woman from Utah to win the award. Her caption on Facebook of the Sept. 7, 2014 photo says "that honor may be one of the greatest I've received."

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Ruby J. Price, Layton, turned 100 on Dec. 13, 2015. This photo was posted to her Facebook page on July 6, 2015 with a caption saying she was on her way to meet with Layton City about the Verdeland Park memorial project.

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Rick Bauer and Layton City Council member Joy Petro stand in the doorway of Ruby Price's kitchen Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, for Price's 100th birthday celebration in Layton. Both Bauer and Petro are former students of Price.

LAYTON — A woman whose own noteworthy accomplishments couldn’t fit into one newspaper became a centenarian Sunday.

The community responded with a steady stream of well-known residents attending an open house in the Layton home of Ruby Price Sunday, Dec. 13.

She’s a woman who lives by the philosophy of not knowing a stranger and wanting to serve anyone whom she meets, Price said she hoped to live 10 more years because she still has goals, such as teaching Americans not to be so selfish.

“You have to be like Jesus Christ, really,” she said, in explaining how she lives. “You have to be tolerant, patient, trying to understand the other point of view.”

She said the selfish ways in which she sees Americans live come about because they don’t understand the Bible and other scriptures.

“Jesus said ‘I am the way,'” she said.

And Price said some of the most profound lessons she’s learned came to her at age 99.

“Once an adult and twice a child,” is one saying that suddenly made sense to her in the last year, she said, talking about some of the limitations she’s experienced.

Sunday, she called herself “Grandma Ruby” even to those who came to her party without having met her before.

“I had six kids of my own,” she said. “I’ve got all the other children around here. They all just feel like my children.”

Her many achievements she listed Sunday include starting the Girl Scouts in Davis County and becoming the nation’s teacher of the year. And there were many, many others.

SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

Ruby Price smiles as neighbors come by bearing flowers and birthday wishes during her 100th birthday celebration Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, at her home in Layton.

She carried out of her bedroom a bag full of history books telling the stories from Hill Air Force Base and Layton City, all of which mention her on numerous pages.

Layton Mayor Bob Stevenson was one who attended and gave Price a hug for her birthday.

He said the city honored her this fall with a plaque dedicated to her in a city park. He said younger people might not appreciate all Price has stood for, as much has changed since Price became the first black school teacher in Davis County.

“She is a jewel of a person,” he said. “We are very blessed to have her here in Layton.”

But Stevenson said Price has blessed his personal life too.

“Ruby Price and her husband Ralph Price were friends with my parents going clear back to the late 1950’s,” he said. 

“I have absolutely thought the world of Ruby Price since I was a little boy,” he said. “I don’t’ think there is enough good you can say about her.”

Joy Petro, a member of the Layton City Council, said she’s known Price from the time she was 5- or 6-years-old, when she joined the Brownies.

“Ruby’s a great lady. She’s just been one of the pillars in the city,” Petro said Sunday. “Like all of her other accomplishments, this is another milestone as she turns 100.”

SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner

Layton City Council member Joy Petro is greeted by Ruby Price Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, during Prices’ 100th birthday party at her home in Layton. Petro had Price as a teacher in her Girl Scout troop and at Vae View Elementary in Layton.

Petro said she hopes to accomplish a fraction of what Price has.

The now-council woman recalls Price teaching second grade at Vae View Elementary School when she was in elementary school.

“She was one of the teachers you hoped you got,” Petro said. “Anybody who came out of her class was miles ahead of the other students as far as knowing the curriculum. … That is why I joined Brownies, so I could learn from her. No matter what you did, she made it fun.”

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or like her on Facebook. 

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