Gay Ruby Dahlstrom (1930-2014)

Gay Ruby Dahlstrom, wife, mother, entrepreneur and self-employed businesswoman, died Monday, December 8, of complications with pneumonia. She was born Eloise Gay Ruby (“Babe” to her family) in Lockhart, Texas at her grandparents’ home on April 2, 1930.  

In 1937, she moved to Buda with her parents, James Cecil Ruby and Louise Walter Ruby, and older brother, James Cecil Ruby Jr. (“Bubba”).  Her father was a local rancher and road contractor.

She attended Buda School where she met her future husband, Jack Dahlstrom, who was in the third grade as she was entering second grade. Her junior year she was voted Most Popular Girl and she and Jack were elected King and Queen of the Prom. Her senior year, she was responsible, with support from Jack and her parents, for publishing the first Buda High School annual.  

Gay went on to attend the University of Texas until she and Jack married in Buda at the Christian Church on April 18, 1948. A year later they started their family. Cecilia, Jack and Cynthia were born in Buda and Dodi was born in Van Horn ten years later.

The family moved forty times in the first 10 years as a result of Jack’s work in road construction in south and west Texas. After living in San Antonio for five years, the family moved to Dallas where they lived for almost 30 years. During those Dallas years, Gay devoted her energy to volunteer leadership at Preston Hollow Methodist Church. As a lover of learning, even though she was disappointed not to complete her degree at UT, Gay realized she had completed her undergraduate work in the Methodist Church where she learned about mental illness, old age, counseling and program development.

From 1982-1991, she entered her entrepreneurial years with partner Mary Kappel in their joint venture, Kapstrom Inc. They developed and marketed internationally their educational software, known as “Writing in Thinking”. Gay saw these years as work towards a graduate degree in business.

As Jack’s road business worsened, Jack and Gay moved to Buda in 1989, where she became more actively involved in the lawsuits surrounding the demise of their road construction business which she closed in 1997.  Gay and Jack retired to ranching life on her beloved homeplace, the Dahlstrom Ranch, land inherited from her parents. Gay continued to be an active member of Buda United Methodist Church and cared for Jack as his health failed.

Next, in an effort to preserve the ranch, she and son Jack Jr. spent five years moving the ranch into a conservation easement, which happened in 2010. Continuing in her desire to preserve her father’s legacy, in 2011 she moved into her next business endeavor with daughter, Dodi, and grandson, Saenger.  Their goal was the redevelopment of the historic Buda Mill and Grain property on Main St. in Buda that her father had owned since 1963. Gay was proudly self-employed there until her death, having completed her lifelong education.

She is survived by son Jack Jr., daughters Cecilia, Cynthia and Dodi, sons-in-law, Clay and Mel, seven grandchildren, two step grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and two step great-grandchildren.

Gay’s parting wisdom to us:  “As I grow older, I reflect, and learn some truths; almost everything in life is a decision.  To be happy, I must decide to be happy.  And therefore, I am.”

A private memorial service and reception was held at the Dahlstrom Ranch on Saturday December 13, 2014. Flowers are welcome. For those who prefer, donations may be made to one of Gay’s favorite charities:  PAWS of Kyle, Capital Area Food Bank or KLRU in Austin. 

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