Graveside Memorial for Ruth Strong Reynolds

The Memorial will be held at Showmen's Rest

1pm on Monday, November 8, 2010.

For directions, contact:

Evergreen Cemetery
204 N Evergreen Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 268-6714

Map to Evergreen Cemetery - Los Angeles





My mother 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.

My 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 named Herbert 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 son passed 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 stranger.

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 fairs.

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 Amarillo, TX.

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 special needs.

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 her life.

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 Strong Reynolds.


John Strong III




Ruth Strong of Oxnard attended a Circus Vargas performance recently at the Ventura County Fairgrounds



My 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 Suzanne Strong




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! 


A 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 Few. 

Ruth Strong Reynolds




Bobby Reynolds - Ruth - John Strong Jr.



Bobby Reynolds - Ruth - Family


A 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 of you.


John Robinson

Sideshow World



John, so sorry to hear about your mom.

Best wishes, Rick and Abby West



My Fondest Condolences to JOHN, LINDA & SANDY STRONG!!!

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!

Your Friend,




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.



Dear John,

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.


The Professor
aka Big Kahuna



John,  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.

Todd Robbins



Our 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.



My prayers are with you and your family.


Jerry Willman



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....

I missed your call this morning Linderella & got this wonderful email  outpouring from you LJ..... 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, Dave




















(A classic woman)

You spoke truth to power,
small in stature...yet..
loomed tall as a tower
never condescending,
unrelentingly stalwart.

A true believer of the eternal possibilities in life.
A solid champion of "every man" in a world
where results outweigh excuses.
Your keen eye, ever infallible.

As distant as a moon to a star close
as the space between applause & performance.

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


"So 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 time."

Jackie Monticup



A life 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.

Doug Higley



John, sorry to hear about your mom, our prayers are with you in your time of loss.




Mark Miller, Rick Dennis, Dennis Sideshow Attractions.


If you have a question you would like to submit email us at the Sideshow World


Back to Tributes        Back to Main


All photos are the property of their respective owners whether titled or marked anonymous.

"Sideshow WorldTM" is the sole property of John Robinson   All rights reserved.

is the sole property of John Robinson   All rights reserved.

E-Mail Sideshow World     E-Mail The Webmaster