At birth doctors in Chicago discovered Fonnie had a learning disability. Later it was diagnosed as Downs Syndrome. Little was known about that condition in the late 1950s. Her pediatricians feared Fonnie would never walk or talk. They told her parents her life expectancy would likely not exceed 25 years. Fonnie's mother Opal Rucker responded saying "you don't know me, and my faith in God." She devoted the rest of her life to Fonnie until Miss Opal passed away at 95 years old.
Fonnie’s big brother Robert (Bob) was two years older, and the two were inseparable as children. He would convince his parents she could walk and talk, and slowly taught her how to do both. Bob protected her from bullies in school, and gave her a chance to experience all of life. Fonnie always enjoyed hearing her mother read the Bible to them, and she loved telling others about the teachings of Jesus and her faith. Bob often marveled at how people instantly fell in love with his little sister. Fonnie enjoyed saying hello to people, and telling them "you're good looking" or "I love you."
In her youth Fonnie participated in the first national Special Olympics Games at Soldier Field, sponsored by the late President Kennedy’s family. She out ran all her track opponents, and was presented a ribbon by the event founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. In 2004, she and her mother would move to California to live with her brother, Prof. Bob Rucker who taught at San Jose State University.
For 16 years she enjoyed being a part of Hope Services in San Jose, a place known for its inspiring mission “to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities and mental health needs.” Like everywhere she lived, Fonnie quickly made new friends, including counselors and administrators. Later she transferred next door to Hope Senior Center for older adults. Again Fonnie developed a reputation for being fun loving and lifting spirits. When the center played music by her beloved Michael Jackson, she'd invite friends and workers to dance with her.
Fonnie Rucker’s final resting place will be at Heaven’s Gate Catholic Cemetery in Los Altos, California, next to her mother Opal and Aunt Geneva Kenerson. She is survived by her brother Bob, his husband (her "other brother") Benjamin Corrales, a sister Linda Genine Rucker-Mosby, many loving family members and dear friendships Fonnie made with people all across the world.
Five priests from the San Jose California Catholic Diocese Concelebrated the Life of Fonnie Rucker on Saturday, September 17, 2022. Nearly 100 guests attended her beautiful and heartwarming service in person, and many more watched nation and worldwide on Zoom. See the service on video at:
Heartfelt love and eternal gratitude to Fathers Saju Joseph, Jon Pedigo, Pedro Sencion, Bob Hayes, and current St. Julie Billiart Church pastor Angelo David.
The family greatly appreciated the genuine warmth, loving care and eloquent comments offered by each about this LGBT family's lifelong devoted "Walk with Christ which stirs the souls of all who meet and get to know them."
We know Fonnie must be beaming with eternal joy! Thank you everyone.
Our Aunt Geneva Kenerson's
Feel free to contribute anytime during the year, especially during holidays, times of crisis or hardship for everyone like we all experienced during the Covid 19 pandemic.
HOPE Services - Adult day care offers mental, social, and physical activities for adults who've lost some independence due to cognitive impairments or chronic health conditions. It provides meals, activities, and social interaction in a facility where older adults are monitored by trained staff.
Their adult day services can be a perfect fit for families who wish to keep their aging loved ones at home, but need help during the day while they work.
DONATIONS FOR 'FONNIE'S FRIENDS'
1555 Parkmoor Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
General Info: (408) 282-0449