alice-sheets1  alicesheets2

Celebration of Life:

Alice “Liz” Ruckman Sheets December 17, 1927 – February 9, 2015

Alice Ruckman Sheets

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow
I am the gentle showers of rain
I am the fields of ripening grain….
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing
I am in each lovely thing…..

– Mary Elizabeth Frye

A Special Lady – Mother, Wife Sister, Aunt, Nanny, Great-Grand-Nanny and Friend

It all began for Alice in 1927 in Dayton, Ohio, the city known as the birthplace of aviation. One of four siblings, Alice was the baby of the family and a fun-loving little girl. Her oldest sister Hazel was born in 1914. Next, was her brother Dave, born in 1916, followed by Martha, her closest playmate, born in 1925. Her parents were Hilda and Alonza Ruckman.

Alice attended Lebanon High School under the cloud of World War II and graduated in 1945. She went to Ohio State University for a year and then accepted a job at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. When Fred Sheets first interviewed her, they both knew there was magic between them. She was first his secretary, and then he transferred her to another section so that he could ask her on a date.

Have you ever wondered how Alice became Liz? Fred had something to do with it. When Alice was age 3, she couldn’t pronounce her friend Elizabeth’s name. Alice called her Wizzy. Her brother Dave jokingly would call her Dizzy Lizzy every so often in reference to her friend Wizzy. Fast forward to when Alice was dating Fred and he heard Dave refer to her as Dizzy Lizzy. Fred grabbed onto the nickname “Liz” used only once in awhile, and it stuck.

After three months of dating, Fred proposed. Plans for a spring wedding moved up to December 13, 1947, when Fred accepted an assignment with the US military in Germany. World War II had been over for two years and it was a time of rebuilding the war-torn country.

The newlyweds sailed to Germany a month later. After touring parts of the country, the two settled in to a 5-room duplex near Berlin. It was here in 1948 where Liz and Fred first experienced the Berlin Blockade by the Russians, the first major event of the Cold War. It was a tense and worrisome time. The Berlin Airlift was established when planes from a number of countries flew on a 24-hour basis to deliver food, coal and supplies. As TV had not come to Europe, everyone would listen to Radio Free Europe at night to learn what was happening. By the end of the blockade 15 months later, over 2.5 million tons of provisions were flown to Berlin. Of this memorable experience, Liz always said that she was so very proud to be an American and forever grateful for the opportunity to live in Germany.

When Fred’s tour of duty ended, the two returned to the United States, back to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and later to Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, Calif., and where they raised their two daughters Becky and Debbie in nearby Redlands, Calif.

In 1966, they relocated to Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah where they remained until retirement when they returned to Carlsbad and later to Sun City West, Arizona.

Liz and Fred were married for 47 years. After Fred’s death in 1995, Liz remained in Arizona for a number of years before returning to California to San Marcos.

Liz’s family meant everything in the world to her. She was a remarkable mother, wife and grandmother, always so proud of her two daughters, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Liz was an active, positive woman her entire life. As a mom, she was involved in the PTA and Girl Scouts. She was an avid golfer, energized by playing bridge, and greatly enjoyed outings to the beaches of California. She also enjoyed a lifetime connection with her lovable dogs.

In her later years, she lived with a chronic illness and faced it with grace and courage. It was a calm, sunny morning in Carlsbad the day she passed away.

In those last days and hours, she was surrounded by the love and support of her family. Though she will always be with us in spirit, we greatly miss her love, laughter and positive energy.

Liz and the family are most grateful for the love and support her daughter Debbie gave her in providing care and friendship during the last six years of her life.

The family also acknowledges the compassionate and supportive staff of Pacifica House and Hospice of the North Coast for their exceptional, professional care.