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Kay Ellen Rutledge

Obituary for Kay Ellen Rutledge

March 12, 1944 - July 31, 2017
Marietta, Georgia | Age 73


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 ( in lieu of flowers.

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Southern Cremations & Funerals at Cheatham Hill Memorial Park

1861 Dallas Highway SW
Marietta, GA 30064
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