Harrison County

Biloxi mother completes 83-year ‘race for Jesus’

Ruby Dickey
Ruby Dickey

The matriarch of a longtime East Biloxi business finished her “race for Jesus” last week.

Ruby L. Dickey, who founded what is now Dickey Brothers Memorial Funeral Home with her husband in 1959, died Monday, Aug. 8. She was 83.

“My parents started the funeral home in December of 1959 and my father passed away in 2003,” said Pamela Dickey, who now runs the funeral home with her brothers. “And we continued on with the business, but mom had always been the driving force.”

Like so many things in East Biloxi, the funeral home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Pamela Dickey said the family had finally gotten it reopened in 2012.

“We were all displaced and we worked at other funeral homes until we got it open again because we lost our home and our business and we had to get back into our house first,” she said. “It was difficult, but we kept doing it because our mom really wanted to get the business open again.”

She said it was her mother's dream to see the business reopened.

“My mom and my dad started that funeral home and she wanted to see it reopened,” Pamela Dickey said. “She loved serving people in the community and it brought her great joy to see it reopened and for us to continue their mission.”

A life of family and love

Dickey was born March 3, 1933, to John Jones and Lelia Jones of Jasper County. She attended Jasper County Training School, where she graduated as the valedictorian of her class.

Ruby Dickey married Marvin M. Dickey and they had four children: Pamela Marie, Marvin M. (Bubba) Jr., Terra Latricee, and Jennifer Ann.

She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Lelia Jones; husband, Marvin M. Dickey Sr.; four brothers, Bill Jones, Charles Jones, Sam Jones and John Jones Jr; two sisters, Reatha Mae Hicks and Bernice Jones; and a grandson, Terry Walters.

Dickey and her husband where both participants in the civil rights-era Biloxi wade-ins with Dr. Gilbert Mason.

A woman of faith

Pamela Dickey said her mother was always trying to help others.

“She taught a lot of people a lot of life lessons and she had a lot of wit and personality about her,” she said. “If she saw that someone was going down a wrong path, she would pull them a side and talk to them about the choices they were making.”

She said one of the main things she will remember about her mother was her strong Christian faith.

“Mother often said, ‘I am in a race, and I have been running for Jesus for a long time, and I’m not tired yet. I must run on because the race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but to the one that endureth to the end.’ She always had words of wisdom for everyone whose path she crossed,” Pamela Dickey said.

Services for Ruby Dickey were held Thursday at 10 a.m.