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Ann Rutledge

Velora Ann Rutledge, a well-known Tucson mineral dealer, was born in Hill, Independence County, Arkansas on December 10, 1895, the daughter of Sally Belle Kemp Woods and Dr. John Hugh Miller Hardy, a former officer and physician in the US Army cavalry in the Arizona Territory. Ann grew up in Arkansas, moving with her family to Walnut Ridge by 1900, and Brown Springs by 1910.

Ann married Robert Lee Millner in Arkansas in 1914, and together they had three children (Glenna Bobby, 1914; John Noyce, 1918; Jasmine "Jessie," 1920) before moving to Tucson, Arizona, where their daughter (Patricia Georgia Vanita) was born in 1923. Ann and Robert operated a guest ranch in Sasabe, Arizona for a few years. In Tucson they lived on Cherry Boulevard, Robert working as manager of the Pay'n Takit grocery store on East 6th Street and Santa Rita Avenue in 1930; Ann worked there as well, as a salesperson.

Ann had a daughter, Nancy, with William Ivan Rutledge in 1932 but the child died that same year; Ann and William married two years later in Juarez, Mexico in 1934. William (1882-1967), a former copper miner, was the owner of SOS Exterminating Company in Tucson from 1931 until his retirement in 1956. Together they had two more daughters (Sally Ann, 1935; and Diane, 1941).

Ann operated the Ann Rutledge Mineral Shop from their home at no. 1, Tucson, Terrace (one block south of St. Mary's hospital), beginning in 1949, and ran it for 31 years, finally closing in 1980 (at the age of 85!). Her husband William helped run the shop, as did her daughter Sally, who fondly remembered the many interesting people who would visit, including young mineral collectors they often took with them on mineral collecting field trips.

Ann was one of the original group of dealers who started the first Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in the Helen Keeling School in 1955. Her daughter Diane, age 12 in 1955, remembers being in their show booth at that first show, and chatting with the other dealers. Ann, she said, had a sharp tongue and was a shrewd businesswoman, but had a fine sense of humor. Show dealers and collectors would often gather at the Rutledge household in the evening after the show closed and sit around telling stories.

Ann Rutledge died on January 26, 1989, in Phoenix, at the age of 93.

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WILSON, Wendell E. (2020)
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