She was born in the year women gained the right to vote and in the decade of the Great Depression. She has witnessed the terms of 18 U.S. Presidents, and in the first decade of her life the television was invented.
On July 28 Hahnville resident Ruth Lussan Horn will turn triple digits. Ruth’s daughter Janel Pizzolato said even though her mother’s mental health has declined and she’s not aware of the significance of her birthday, a small family gathering will be held in honor of Ruth turning 100.
Ruth was born in New Orleans on July 28, 1920 to William and Mary Busalacchi Lussan. She grew up on Lussan Lane in Luling in a house that is still there, but now functions as a lawyer’s office.
Ruth enlisted in the Navy and served as a Pharmacist Mate Third Class from January 31, 1944 to September 29, 1945. She later obtained her teaching degree from LSU and taught physical education and home economics in the Iberville, St. John the Baptist and St. Charles Parish School Systems. She retired from the St. Charles Parish School System in June of 1979.
“She was always so gracious and eager to help,” Connie Gonzales, one of Ruth’s former students, said. “She was one of my favorite teachers. Later in life I often called her for advice on recipes I was trying to perfect and she always enjoyed helping. You could tell how she loved her students. She always had a smile on her face for her students and we all loved her.”
Ruth married the late Daniel Horn on March 2, 1946 and went on to have five children – Ronald, Robert, Joan, Janel and Jill. She now has 10 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
After marrying Daniel, Ruth lived in White Castle, Vacherie, Lafayette and Shreveport before returning to St. Charles Parish. She now lives across the street from Janel.
“She taught us how to enjoy life,” Janel said. “We always went to Mardi Gras parades and all the football games no matter where they were. She was close to her sisters, Bet who lived in Morgan City, Helena who lived in Baton Rouge and Puddin who lived in Luling. We grew up knowing the importance of family and feel so fortunate to have grown up around our families.”
Family memories of Ruth involve shopping – “grocery shopping at Schweggman’s and shoe shopping at Imperial Shoes on Canal Street,” said daughter Joan – as well as card games, especially 500.
“I have fond memories of playing cards with MawMaw and PawPaw,” Ruth’s grandson Justin said. “MawMaw taught me how to play 500 and I became really good at it.”
“I used to go help MawMaw with setting and serving food and drinks for her ladies Pokeno nights so that I could get to play a round of it with her to win nickels,” Ruth’s granddaughter Claire said.
Described by many as a wonderful mother and grandmother, Ruth also loved vegetable gardening and traveling.
“Her and daddy were members of the Busy Bees and they hardly missed a trip with them,” Janel said. “She was an avid seamstress and cook. She made a lot of our clothes, even for our Barbie dolls.”
Cooking is another passion many attributed to Ruth.
“I remember helping her make pralines, fudge, peanut brittle, divinity and cookies to give as teacher Christmas presents,” Janel said. “We helped make blackberry jelly every summer and helped with canning vegetables.”
Ruth’s daughter Jill also has many food-based memories of growing up.
“I remember Mamma feeding us cow’s tongue after telling us it was roast beef and eating frog legs and telling us it was fried chicken,” she said. “I rarely ever remember eating sandwiches for dinner. We always had a hot meal. She was a great cook.”
Ryan, Ruth’s grandson, said one of his most cherished memories of growing up close to his grandparents was waking up early on Saturday mornings and walking over to have breakfast.
“Usually it was raisin toast, orange juice and morning TV,” he said. “MawMaw was always present and offered us warmth, love and a little discipline when we needed it.”