for Ruth Strong Reynolds
The Memorial will be held at
1pm on Monday, November 8, 2010.
204 N Evergreen Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
to Evergreen Cemetery - Los
was born on March 11, 1917 and she just
passed on 10/28/2010 at 9:30 pm or the
equivalent of 34,199 days or 93.63
years. She was born in Long Island, New
York. She had two older sisters and one
older brother. Her father told her
mother not to ever cage this one in
because no cage would hold her.
mother matured into a very striking,
statuesque woman with the body
and mind of steel She married at 24 to a
high ranking officer in the Air Corps
Feld. Her husband came from a
billionaire insurance agency family from
Long Island. My mother came from a very
poor working class family. My mother had
one son with her husband Herbert
in the second year of their marriage. In
the third year of their marriage, her
husband, herself and two friends were in
a devastating accident when a drunk
driver ran them off the road en route to
a USO party. They were in a convertible.
Herbert flew over the windshield and hit
his head on a tree. My mother with three
broken ribs ripped her skirt off and put
his brains back in his skull. He passed
on the third day in a coma at 27. Three
months later, their less than 2 year old
with pneumonia as well. My mom buried
her family in Long Island and decided to
move to Hollywood, Ca.
She inherited from her husband's estate
a small fortune for those times. She
purchased a home Irva Ave. and Vine St.
up by the Hollywood sign. She worked in
a hospital and drove a Packard. She
helped in the polio epidemic in World
War II. After a few years working
in Hollywood, she met a very tall,
debonair man from Sweden. She herself
was Norwegian and very taken by this
That was my father, Big John Strong. He
just moved from Jamestown, NY to across
the street from my mom. My entire family
was there too, including my aunts and
John Strong I. Lucille Ball moved him
and his entire family to be close to
Lucille because my dad's sister was her
best friend growing up and wanted her to
be close to her.
My dad married my mom in 1947. My mom
asked my dad what he wanted to do with
his life. My father, an inspiring actor,
said his real goal in life was to own a
circus. My mother asked why didn't he
own a circus if that's what his goal
was. My dad said that a lot of people
think of circus people as gypsies or
carnival people. My mom said "Nonsense!
If you do a good show and entertain the
people, you will always be welcomed
back." So, then, my parents started as
concessionaires working small festivals
and parades selling snow cones, pop corn
and cotton candy. My mom's idea was to
put the food concessions into movie
theatres, specifically Fox West Coast.
Fox's response was "and ruin our
beautiful carpeting?" They eventually
started a dog and pony circus with their
circus because they wanted the
exclusivity of their food concessions
with their own show. My mom trained the
dog and the pony to a riding dog act. My
dad did the M/Cing and hired on other!
acts. They mostly toured the schools in
Los Angeles before branching out as a
free family circus at major west coast
My parents also went to many Hollywood
parties thanks to Lucille Ball. They met
the likes of John Wayne and H.G. Wells.
John Wayne wanted to dance with her. My
mom was a classy lady always dressed
impeccably. She was not afraid to do the
dirty work around the circus, train the
animals, and take care of her family. My
dad and her tried to have children. She
lost five of them through miscarriages.
She didn't think she could ever carry
them through. So, she adopted two girls,
Sandy and Linda Strong. I was premature
8 months and made it, even with a heart
murmur. They named me John Augustus
Jones Strong after Augustus Jones, the
first showman to take an entire circus
in one railroad car.
My mother tied her three children to the
circus seats and performed the animal
acts and concessions in the circus. As
we got older, we were taught acts to
perform in the circus. As we got school
age, we went to the school in the winter
and worked the circus on weekends,
holidays and summer vacation. I remember
at our home in winter quarters in
Thousand Oaks that she loved to garden,
cook and dry her clothes on a long
clothesline in the enclosed yard.
She was an avid reader and also good at
poetry and art. My mother used to wear
big hats while she was trimming the ivy.
We had a small jungle behind the house,
but she would never be without her
lipstick and being put together. She
believed in principals and quality more
than quantity. She instilled good values
in her children and family. Though very
wealthy, she was very conservative in
her living habits and always conscious
on the value of a dollar. She would
always say that she would rather give
you the fishing pole and teach you how
to bait the hook than the fish and you
lose the fish. However, for my thirtieth
birthday, she bought me an elephant and
elephant trailer and diesel truck. She
could be generous, but only
sporadically. I believe she gave me the
elephant only because she helped my step
father so in his chosen profession.
The elephant turned out to be more of a
pain than an asset. The diesel truck and
trailer kept us going an additional 13
years. My mother always said "give me
results, not excuses." My mother built
one of the first Taco Bells in
California on Thousand Oaks Blvd. She
also built an automotive center, a bar,
a landscaping business and a circus on
the same property as Taco Bell. She
bought a piece of property for $14,000
and sold the 3.4 acres 45 years later
for $3.5 million. She was a very smart
business woman, but never strove to make
more money. It just seemed to come at
her from every which way. She had blue
chip stocks and bonds. She still has in
her trust. She had a small interest in
the San Fransisco Air Lot parking lot.
She helped her 3rd husband buy large
pieces of property in Fillmore, CA and
Though she had many sorrows and
hardships in her life, she tried to make
the best of any situation. Losing her
first husband was the most sorrowful.
Losing five babies with my father was
very sorrowful as well. She was very
strong willed. She was always kind to
people. She would not let people take
advantage of her or her family. She was
really healthy until she was 78 years
old. Always she was exercising, eating
right and staying healthy.
She met her 3rd husband at 76, who
ironically is 76 right now and not
nearly in the same shape. My mom at 78
could run marathons. When she was 79,
she found out she had colon cancer.
Doctors removed 23% of her colon and
saved her life. At 80, she fell and
broke her help. She never walked without
a cane or a walker again. At 82, she
suffered a devastating stroke that
affected her conscious thinking. At 92
she found out she had lung cancer. My
mom never smoked, but she lived in
downtown Los Angeles for 60 years, which
might have an effect on one's lungs.
What I found with my mom is that she got
even nicer and sweeter in her golden
years. She spent time on making people
feel good and encouraging people. When
she was 90, we were able to buy her a
house that's wheel chair accessible with
central air and heat. Since she couldn't
read anymore, she loved to listen to
classic music and watch the Golden Girls
on TV. With the devastating stroke, she
could only see shadows. She'd always
tell people to get her glasses when the
Golden Girls was on. She did not want to
make a fuss out out of it. She always
made the best out of a bad situation.
I visited mom several times in
California, even though most of my
business was on the East Coast these
last few years. My sisters and I did a
lot to bring in a lot to make her
comfortable. We brought in 24hr
caretakers. The last one was
exceptional. Karen, an African American
gal, became part of the family. Ms.
Barbara Knight has been an exceptional
executor of her estate. She has driven
thousands of miles to take care of her
I was very fortunate to fly from NYC to
see my mom two weeks ago and hold her
hand hoping her to see and hear how much
she was loved and appreciated for all
her giving to all the people who touched
I feel you are all a product of your
environment. The encouragement that was
given to me from my mom and her
teachings on right and wrong stays with
you a lifetime. Her morals, standards
and good will will live on through her
legacy. What more can I say she was my
friend, my protector, my mother: Ruth
John Strong III
Ruth Strong of Oxnard attended a Circus
Vargas performance recently at the
Ventura County Fairgrounds
mother, my friend, my confidant passed
away on October 28th, 2010. I
loved her deeply; now she's simply gone.
All my life I'd known that I was loved,
living in the circle of her arms,
growing up in the warmth of her loving
heart I can't believe her love is
not somewhere, so Strong it was, so much
a part of me.
I need to say goodbye although she's
always with me. So long as I still
love you mom, you live on..
Your Ever-Loving Daughter, Linda
Sandi, Linda & Little Strongman John
Love is the Key to all Things
Love is the key to all things, for it
opens its door to Beggars and Kings
changes the way of every life an lessons
the frustrations of daily strife.
It's Possive! Frightening! Powerful!
Strong! It's found in the bud of a
rose an the heart of a song!
woman knows Loves worth in her babies
first cry, A man knows loves worth when
he is about to die, Capture it! possess
it! hold it to tightly its gone again,
What is the answer of keeping love
near? More precious than gold since it
banishes fear. The answer is so simple
it rings true, Give out with your all,
and it will come back to you!
Ruth Strong Reynolds
Linda, Sandi, Little John & Mom
Linda, Sandi, Little John & Big John
Big John, Ruth, &
Little John Strong
The Enlighten Few
Take not the world's cares upon your
shoulders as you thread your path along
life's way, but with a pure heart of
loving, yearning live joyfully every
moment of the day. Though you may have
the visitation of many sorrows and
thirst for power beyond this world's
compare, do not let earthly desires lead
you from the path of a simple daily
prayer. All knowing God, lead me on the
broader fields of thought. Let my
visions see most clearly all the gifted
beauties you have brought. Mark his
teachings, pausing, seeking a new, on
the road others before me The Enlighten
Ruth Strong Reynolds
Bobby Reynolds - Ruth - John Strong Jr.
Bobby Reynolds - Ruth -
Great Woman joined a Great Man on that
Great Eternal Midway. God bless
you Ruth and God be with the family you
left behind. My prays are with all
John, so sorry to hear about your mom.
Best wishes, Rick and Abby West
Fondest Condolences to JOHN, LINDA &
I Know your Mother is Now in Heaven for
she was a Lady that had Values and
Morals far exceeding our own and if
anyone is in Heaven its Your Mother! I
know that things I have learned from
John, Linda & Sandy over the years that
I have known them will always stay with
me and really give me insight, the
stories of their Mother and Father
starting from scratch and building a
real circus empire!
GOD BLESS YOU JOHN, SANDY & LINDA!!!
Sending Our deepest sympathies during
your time of loss. Please know that we
are here for you.
With love and prayers,
Jim Zajicek and the crew of the BCS..
I'm sincerely sorry for your loss. I
know you cherished your mother and
knowing that she is in a better place I
hope will give you comfort.
Deepest sympathies for the loss of your
mother. From reading your story of her
life, it sounds like she lived it on her
terms--and while you and your family
knew that she would be going to the big
show, it is still a sad loss. I have
been though it myself.
aka Big Kahuna
you are in our thoughts and prayers,
Condolences from, Phil & Family
Ruth Strong Reynolds was a truly
remarkable woman and an inspiration to
everyone that met her. I spent a
bit of time with her out in Coney Island
when Bobby Reynolds had his museum show
there. She was a quiet dignified woman
that was filled with charm and strength.
When she spoke, you listened. And you
were always better off for having done
so. This is truly a great loss.
Deepest Sympathy and Prayers for You And
Your Family JS#3
Ray, Shirley and Mary
Here's to a life well lived.
I'll be thinking about you and your
family and sending up prayers.
prayers are with you and your family.
John, I am so sorry to hear about your
beautiful Mother. My family sends our
Love to yours. Now, she has found the
Freedom from the bondage of her
struggling body. She has no shackles
holding her Spirit down. She is dancing
once again. Thank you for sharing her
story with us all these years. Your
Freakshow Friend - Todd Ray
Nata$ha here. Dearest John. I cried
like a wee one, reading about your "
Mum". I'm ever soo sorry for your loss.
Truly I am. Now that she is an ANGEL in
the Heavens, perhaps her beautiful
face will touch Me hubbys heart, and
make him a wee bit better. I don't wish
for the two of us to have grieve
together over our loved ones.
Oh how I know you loved her, and she
you. I've said a wee prayer for her,
but she doesn't need it. She's quite
contented now. If I could be half the
Woman she is , yes IS, not WAS, well
I'd still not be close to being her.
That's what it 'tiss you know. LOVE.!
Just Love. ( and Carnys! ) .
Cheers with Tears. Nata$ha V, and
Sickie Bear T
Linda, Sandy & John-
Many emotions & sympathies your way
from me to you....
missed your call this morning
Linderella & got this wonderful email
outpouring from you LJ.....
Linda...you asked if I might write
something. Here's a little something I
hope you all might find appropriate to
add to what I know will be a landslide
of comments your way regarding your
Mom's new adventure. Feel free to use
it any way you like.
God knows there's a ton of folks
who've been waiting to see her again
in the big Center Ring in the Sky!!
Much Love to you guys & please pass
this on to Sandy too!!!! Circusly,
(A classic woman)
You spoke truth to power,
small in stature...yet..
loomed tall as a tower
A true believer of the eternal
possibilities in life.
A solid champion of "every man" in a
where results outweigh excuses.
Your keen eye, ever infallible.
As distant as a moon to a star
as the space between applause &
A wonderful treasure
that I had such brief pleasure
to know & be welcomed by,
to touch & be touched by...
as so many of us did
by this wonderful "old kid"
God Bless You & Welcome You...
David Frederick Pugh ~ October 30,2010
We extend our sincere condolences on the
loss of your dear mother.
Our prayers are with you and your
family. God Bless
Ward & Chris
sorry to hear about your mom. She was an
unforgettable, one-of-a-kind personality
with a very unique outlook on life.
I remember her standing in our barn in
upstate NY, dramatically reciting a
lovely and poignant poem she had
written, and just bringing me to tears.
She had a sharp wit, a warm personality-
and lots of great advice to share.
Anyone who ever met her will remember
her forever. John, you are a lucky
man to have had such a great mom for so
long. It's never long enough,
though. Just know that all your friends
are thinking of you at this difficult
well spent. Deep sympathies to John. She
will be remembered in so many ways...if
only for the joy the Circus brought but
from grateful hearts who knew her.
sorry to hear about your mom, our
prayers are with you in your time of
Mark Miller, Rick Dennis, Dennis