Every year, Tulare native Jack Ribeiro turns his living room into a massive Christmas village. It’s a tradition he’s held for the last 35 years with his wife Ruth. But, Ruth passed away six years ago, and despite the loss, Jack continues to build their special village every year in her honor.
Jack explained how it got started more than three decades ago. He said, “We went to Mervyn’s and started out with a small house. We got the little tiny one.”
Every year since then, they’ve added more, and the village grew to fill the entire living room of their Tulare home.
The Ribeiro’s loved their annual tradition.
“We always did stuff together. We got along good, real good,” said Jack.
But in 2011, Ruth was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The couple had been married for 64 years, and Jack took care of his bride.
He commented, “I’d do it again if I, if she were still living.”
Ruth died in 2012, leaving Jack to finish their village alone. He said the first Christmas by himself was hard, but putting up every little detail is another reminder of his wife.
“It’s eternal love. It’s the fact that if two people really loved each other, it stands the test of time,” stated Nathan Jordan, one of the Ribeiro’s great-grandsons.
Jordan admires the village so much, for him, it’s a symbol of hope.
He said, “He shows that there’s still good in the world.”
And a love so strong – no doubt – the village is built on commitment, just like his marriage to Ruth.
We asked Jack, “Do you miss her [Ruth]?” He replied, “Oh ya. But, I don’t need anything to worry about, to remind me of her. I got her in my heart.”