Ruthie Mae Sandifer Baldwin of Houston, Texas
June 4, 1920 – April 10, 2020
Houston – Ruthie Mae Sandifer Baldwin, (Madear), who was known for making the best cornbread dressing, million-dollar-pie and pineapple upside down cake, is now baking for her heavenly father, as she peacefully passed on Good Friday, April 10, 2020 surrounded by her loving family. She was 99.
She leaves her (6) grandchildren, Serbino Sandfier-Walker (Magnus Walker), Dino Sandifer (Evelyn Sandifer Desmond Lewis (Wanda Lewis), Nikia Lewis (Shalonda Lewis), Chad Lewis, and Tiffany Hall (Daniel Ikner); (14) great grandchildren, Dabrina Sandifer, De’Angelo Sandifer, De’Auvelli Sandifer, Dinochi Sandifer, De’Aushminae Sandifer, Breyia Walker, Jene Walker (Monica Jokeerd Walker), Sanaa Lewis, Eric Ramey, Jr. (Precious Ramey), Erris Ramey, Davien Johnson, Damien Johnson, Diamond Hall, and Nyasia Lewis; (5) great, great grandchildren, Leilani Jokeerd Walker, Kasen Ramey, Avah Ramey, Joseph Womack, Jr, and Sa’nyah Womack; (2) adopted grandchildren James Robertson and Brenda Eastman-Warner, and a host of relatives and close friends to cherish her memory.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, the daughter of Charlie Hampton (father) and Minnie Lee Jamison Hampton, (mother), Ruthie, who had beautiful sandy red hair and a blushing peach skin tone, was affectionately nicknamed “Doll Baby”.
As a child, “Doll Baby” was a deeply spiritual youth who read the Bible daily with her brother, Charlie Hampton, Jr. (“Brother”) in the piney woods of Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Her mother, who died when she was very young, made “Brother” promise to “always take care of her.” As “Doll Baby” grew into an articulate and strong willed young lady, her faith led her to become a Sunday School teacher and garnered many awards and recognition for her outstanding knowledge of the Holy Bible. She associated with many organizations that promoted spiritual empowerment including the Order of the Eastern Star.
Madear was a hard worker who excelled in school and played sports such as basketball. She excelled in many areas with an unyielding drive to work hard and pave her own path in life. After attending high school, she met Charles Sandifer and had (1) child, Minnie Charles Sandifer Lewis, (who preceded her in death in 2002). However, with the world rapidly changing following WWII in the mid-1940s, and opportunities opening up for blacks west of Louisiana, Madear and her only child, “Minnie Baby,” moved to Houston, Texas to start life anew.
In Texas, she firmly planted her roots and married Robert Baldwin as she became the matriarch of her burgeoning family with the birth of her grandchildren. As such, her steadfastness and insistence for her family to become educated and remain unapologetically their authentic selves set a precedent that has become the family’s mantra. Being a lifelong Christian, her faith and belief in the Lord and His Word gave her a strength well beyond her diminutive frame. This, of course, was compounded by her wisdom and guidance that is the inspiration that will continue to move the family forward through remembrance of her witty and truthful quips.
Madear was a green thumbed gardener, an avid dog lover (Rebel, Drake, Rex and Rango), and an expert cook whose understanding and execution of Louisiana cuisine rivaled that of any 5 star chef. As a member of the “Greatest Generation,” her eyes witnessed the Great Depression, WWII, and the Civil Rights Movement. These events and countless others forged her steeled will with a soundtrack of her beloved Blues music playing in the background. Her love of music and dance breathed life and years of memories into all family functions.
Never one to mince words, she always spoke her truth and kept a small arsenal of weapons in her recliner, ready for any intruder who dared enter her house without an invitation. She embraced life with unparalleled zeal and fervor. Her laughter and joking nature would light up the room as she always provided the glue to hold things together. In fact, her house is the one where the doors remained open for all to return without question.
Finally, although Madear will be missed, please know that she would want her family and friends to continue dancing and laughing. As the echo of her threats loomed before a “whooping” to “Slay you like Daniel did the Lion” or “Rope you like okra and stretch you out like bubblegum,” Madear’s impact will live on through all that knew her because to have known her is to have known a person like no other, one of God’s favored. Madear, as she is undoubtedly reunited with her parents, daughter, husband, brothers, and sister, is looking down upon those she has left behind with her beautiful smile and would want them all to keep the music playing loud enough for her to hear as she dances into infinite tomorrows.