On Sunday, May 14, 2023, Ruth Bradley-McNeely-Wells celebrated her 104th birthday with family, friends and church family at St. Matthew CME. Church, 7500 N 76th St. Born on May 16, 1919 in St. Joseph, LA to Louise Winn-Bradley and Alfred Bradley, Sr., on a 60-acre farm owned by her father, the first African American to own his farm outright in the parish.
Ruth would cook for her parents, siblings and the farm workers. She could not work the fields as her doctor said she was allergic to the hot sun. While in high school, Ruth would be put in charge of cooking when dignitaries would visit. She was also a popular guard while playing basketball, as her team lost only 1 game in 3 years. After graduation, Ruth moved north, following her siblings. She would marry the late Charles Thomas McNeely, Sr. This union was blessed with two children, R.L. and Tracey Louise. She would also lovingly raised a step-son, the late Charles Louis, Jr.
For 17 years, Ruth taught the course Cooking for Fun, which was sponsored by the Mott Foundation of Flint, MI and offed at many Flint public schools and the youth home of Genessee County, MI. After retirement, she and her good friend, Dorothy Cheatom, operated a cake and pie business. Ruth would also author a cook book inspired by her son R.L., Ruth’s E-Z Cooking Recipes: An Autobiographical Cookbook, sold nationwide and in Europe. Ruth also catered many events for family and friends.
Ruth would find love again with the late Emmett Wells on September 7, 2007. After the loss of Emmett, Ruth moved to Menominee Falls to live with son R.L. and later to Milwaukee to live with her daughter, Tracey Louise. While living in Milwaukee, she become a member of St. Matthew CME Church where the pastor is Rev. Dr. Richard D. Shaw and First Lady is Dr. Toni Shaw.
Pictured at Ruth’s birthday celebration are (back row, from left) Rev. Dr. Richard D. Shaw; granddaughter Ava Shaw, First Lady Dr. Toni Shaw; (bottom row, from left) Ruth’s daughter missionary Tracey L. McNeely and the birthday girl herself, Ruth Bradley- McNeely-Wells.