A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Bourbon Heights Nursing Home honors ‘walking history’ with new chapel name

By Steve Flairty
NKyTribune columnist

For most of us, we’d probably be content after living a long life to be commonly known as a good parent or a friend to many and considered a good person. After all, lots of individuals may not earn that label. For 92-year-old Ruby Slade, she has seen the day that a church chapel was named in her honor.

Ruby Slade outside the Chapel. (Photo courtesy The Bourbon County Citizen)

The recognition recently occurred at the Bourbon Heights Nursing Home, a senior living provider in Paris. The Ruby Slade Chapel, at the site, received its new name years after being built in 1982, replacing another on the property that burned two years earlier. And for what reason came such high tribute to Ruby? To put it succinctly, Ruby faithfully served Bourbon Heights for a total of 55 years, and with high distinction.

She started in 1967 as an office manager, working until 1994 when she retired. However, she soon joined the institution’s board and stayed with that position until January of this year. While working as an office manager, she led in a year-long effort to construct the new chapel after the original burned; it would cost $113,000 and feature beautiful stained-glass windows imported from Germany.

During her long years at Bourbon Heights, she gained a reputation as being excellent at her job. In a March 4 article in The Bourbon County Citizen, Ruby was described by colleagues in the Bourbon Heights community in the following ways:

• “a walking history of Bourbon Heights”

• “always wanted things done right… a professional”

• “heart 100% dedicated to the residents”

• “(one) who worked hard to make the chapel a reality”

Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of seven books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and six in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #5,” was released in 2019. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly KyForward and NKyTribune columnist and a former member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

I heard similar comments from those speaking on Ruby’s behalf as she was honored in the chapel on Sunday, April 11. Ruby has created an amazing legacy with her work at Bourbon Heights and through the building of the chapel, which is used as a place to conduct religious services every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. for residents; it is also available to them for personal meditation at all hours.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

A few weeks back, I wrote a two-part series about local libraries around the state and their individual Kentucky collections. A few of those not covered in the series wanted to weigh in on their offerings, too, so I decided to share them in this week’s column.

Elaine Kuhn, at the Kenton County Public Library, commented that KCPL’s Local History and Genealogy Department is “arguably one of the largest collections of such materials in Kentucky.”

It has over 14,400 reference books and includes all 120 Kentucky counties, along with bordering states and places such as Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina, from where many of Kentucky’s early settlers came. “As the two main groups of immigrants that populated our region were Germans and Irish, we have collections of research material that focus on those populations as well,” she said.

The print collection has over 900 Kentucky biographies, some 3,700 non-fiction books (including over 200 cookbooks from Kentucky and Cincinnati), and more than 1,100 fiction titles by current and former Kentuckians. Digital resources are huge, with the Faces & Places photograph database currently having 110,000 images, many from the Kentucky Post; the GeNKY database, also huge, covers documents, diaries, yearbooks, scrapbooks, and letters. The Northern Kentucky Newspaper Index is part of the microfilm collection. “We are unique in holding microfilmed copies of church records from the Catholic Diocese of Covington not available online,” noted Elaine. KCPL’s treasures are available online at www.kentonlibrary.org.

The Kentucky Room at Shelby County Public Library. (Photo by Mason Warren)

The Shelby County Library has a dedicated room of Kentucky and Shelby County history, noted spokesperson Shana Schack. It has nearly 1,600 non-circulating resources for genealogists/researchers, plus vertical files, a photograph collection, and much more. “The absolute gem of the Kentucky Room is its robust local newspaper collection on microfilm consisting of The Shelby News 1841-1971, The Shelby Record 1899-1923, The Shelby Sentinel 1880-1972, and The Sentinel-News 1972-present,” said Shana. “Our Kentucky author titles are intermingled into our regular fiction and non-fiction collections.”

David Kirkpatrick, at the Mercer County Public Library, in Harrodsburg, talked about their History and Genealogy section that is befitting of the first permanent settlement in Kentucky. “We have 4,588 items in our Kentucky collection containing everything from fiction to fact, to genealogy. We have a general Kentucky section that contains around seventy percent of our collection in a single section dedicated to published materials. The remaining thirty percent or so are located in our adjacent genealogy room and consist of 1,333 books related to genealogy. A few of these are general books on the subject but most are transcriptions, abstracts, and indexes of Kentucky cemeteries, county clerk records, church minutes, and others. They share this space with 250 rolls of microfilm containing our local paper back over one hundred years and (we) are one of the few libraries in the state to have a complete copy of the Draper Papers on microfilm, which tells Kentucky’s story better than almost any other.”

David called the collection one “fairly popular” because of the town’s history and also because of the proximity of authors such as Ann Gabhart, “who have been kind enough to work with us on several programs.”

As I mentioned previously, our state has a wealth of information that touches our lives in its local libraries. A directory of individual libraries is available at kdla.ky.gov

Related Posts

Leave a Comment