Kay Ellen Rutledge

  • Born: March 12, 1944
  • Died: July 31, 2017
  • Location: Marietta, Georgia

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1861 Dallas Highway SW
Marietta, GA 30064

Tel. (770) 919-7100

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dr. Kay Ellen Rutledge, 73, of Marietta, passed away during the night on Monday, July 31st, following a 12-year battle with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Parkinsonism.
Dr. Rutledge was born on March 12, 1944, in Charleston, South Carolina. She was the daughter of the late Robert Bascomb Cox and the late Rosa Lee Jackson Cox.
Dr. Rutledge dedicated her life to education. She started her own education after the Cox family moved to Summerville, Georgia. Second grade was the last time she made a 'B' in school; the rest of her grades were all 'A's. Later, Dr. Rutledge moved to Rome, Georgia, where she graduated as the valedictorian of West Rome High School in 1962, and then graduated summa cum laude from Shorter College in 1965. She earned a Master's degree from Southwest Texas State University in 1971, and a PhD from Georgia State University in 1986.
Dr. Rutledge retired from her career in education in 2011. She last worked at the Georgia Department of Education, where she managed reading tests and the High School Graduation Exam. Prior to that, Dr. Rutledge was the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum at Lumpkin County Schools. She had accepted that position after a stint as an administrator and gifted teacher at Riverwood High School in Fulton County.
Dr. Rutledge spent most of her career at Georgia State University where she managed the development and implementation of the state-wide teacher testing program for the Georgia Assessment Project. She also supported her husband's career and raised her three sons during this time. Before that, along with her graduate education, she started her teaching career as a high school teacher in Tucker, Georgia—where she taught the school's first integrated class—and in Forsan, Texas.
Throughout her career, Dr. Rutledge was an excellent educator. She taught administrators, test developers, teachers, and students up to the graduate and professional level, including the first master's degree program in teaching at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia. She also published articles and books, primarily involving communication, testing, and education.
Further, she served at Eastside Baptist Church as a Christian educator for over 30 years in various roles with kindergarteners, middle school students, teenagers, and bed-babies.
After Dr. Rutledge retired in 2011, she spent six years combating an extremely rare and potent disease, Multiple System Atrophy (MSA). The advancement of the disease ultimately took her life.
Dr. Rutledge leaves her husband, Dr. Arthur Latimer Rutledge, along with her three sons and their spouses: Robert and Vita Maria (Salvemini), Brandon and Jessica (Cochrane), and Jonathan and Amber (Phillips). She also leaves her highly cherished grandchildren (from oldest to youngest): Lane, Joe, Emily, Levi, Anthony, Henry, Greer, and Ty.
A memorial service will be observed on Sunday, August 6, 2017, at 3 PM at the Eastside Baptist Church on Lower Roswell Road in Marietta, Georgia, with Dr. Randy Cheek officiating, and eulogies from family and friends. The family will receive friends from 2 PM until 3 PM at the church. There will be no graveside service. Contributions may be made to the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition (www.multiplesystematrophy.org) in lieu of flowers.


Condolence & Memory Journal

I worked for a short time with Kay Ellen at GDOE. I think of her often and I just saw this notice. She and I were expecting our first grandchild around the same time. We talked about what we would be called. She said all sorts of names had been considered when her daughter in law asked her what she would liked to be called. She said Dr. Rutledge would be fine. I’ve thought of this so often and it always brings a smile to my face. It was so Kay Ellen. I know much time has passed, but she will always hold a special place in my heart. I pray peace and good memories are part of her that she left with you all.

Posted by Cindy Windham - Coworker   June 07, 2022

Dear Arthur
I read very sadly that Kay Ellen had passed away. I remember her well. It appears that she had a fantastic career as we all knew she would. My prayers are with you and your family
Sincerely your old neighbor and West Rome classmate, Andee Smith Fountain

Posted by Andee Smith Fountain - Poughkeepsie, NY - Neighbor   August 16, 2017

Buddy, I have fond memories of Kay Ellen as I am the daughter of Leary Bell and Noble Finley of Rome, GA, members of Garden Lakes Baptist Church and educators at West Rome High School. Kay Ellen was so loved and adored by my parents. Many years have passed; yet, please accept my sincere sympathy in your loss.

Posted by Pat Finley Heys - Sandy Springs, GA   August 15, 2017

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Posted by Mitzi Taylor - Washington, DC - Friend   August 07, 2017

A special place in my heart! We worked together at GaDOE and she was a great friend. I remember, as Shirley Millicans wrote, that her passion for reading encouraged me to not be so closed minded in my reading choices - she expanded horizons in my reading choices. To this day, I fondly think of her as I pick up my next book!

Posted by Jeff Barker - Atlanta, GA - coworker   August 07, 2017

Buddy and family, I'm so sorry to hear of Kay Ellen's passing. She was a great friend and I enjoyed working with her. She will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your friend in Iowa

Posted by Marlyin Robert - Wilton, IA - Friend   August 04, 2017

Kay Ellen and I worked together at the Georgia Department of Education for five years. She was such a valuable colleague and friend. It was such a pleasure to work alongside her. She was an avid reader and we used to discuss books that she had read and I was reading in my book club. This was a cherished professional time for me working with Kay Ellen. I will always remember her kindness and infectious laugh. May your soul rest in peace.

Posted by Shirley Millicans - Alpharetta, GA - Coworker   August 04, 2017


I did not know Dr. Rutledge; however, my heartfelt sympathies go to your family. I am also an educator who taught Amber when she attended CCA. Amber's mother and I attended school growing up and were family friends. My oldest son, Jay Vickers and Amber graduated in the same class and were good friends. Our family is praying for you to have comfort during your difficult loss. God bless.

Posted by Donna Dixon - Douglas, GA - Family Friend   August 04, 2017

Such a sweet, kind person. I've never seen her acting in an unkind manner in the years I knew her. She will be missed by all. She really was a great woman.

Posted by Ellen Phillips - Wray, GA - Family Friend   August 04, 2017

Our prayers and love go out to the family.

Posted by Kim and Nancy Phillips - Douglas, GA   August 04, 2017


Kay Ellen was a wonderful woman, mother, teacher and mentor. Her spirit, laugh, and hard work will stay with those who knew and loved her. Praying for peace for Buddy, her boys, family and friends.

Posted by Toni Bowen - GA - Friend   August 03, 2017

My heartfelt sympathies to the family. I enjoyed my many years of working with Kay Ellen. I know family meant the world to her and she to you all. May you find comfort and peace in the many happy memories of family time. Love, DeeD

Posted by Melodee "Dee" Davis - Lilburn, GA - Coworker   August 03, 2017

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