Ruth was born the day after Christmas on December 26, 1929 to Ida and Joseph Woodard. She was the 9th child of 10 children, 8 sisters and 2 brothers. Her father was a tobacco farmer, a quiet man along with her mother who instilled in Ruth the love of hard work, gardening and never sitting still. More than anything Ruth wanted to see the world and although her mother was against it, her Pa told her mother, "Let the girl go." and so Ruth joined the United States Air Force. She worked in the Pentagon as a Cryptographer during the Korean War Era.
Not long after joining the military she met her husband Robert Wilson, it was all over for the native New Yorker when he met Ruth, the country girl from Johnston County NC, with movie star looks and a beautiful mind, he was smitten. They embarked on a journey together that lasted over 65 plus years. More than anything, Ruth had a thirst for knowledge and with every waking moment was reading, learning, traveling or hard at work. She traveled much of Europe in her early years, learning many languages along with her travels. She kept journals of all her adventures and at one time had over 300 pen pals from all over the globe. At church she would read from a Hebrew Bible to improve her language skills. She taught German in later years along with French and English, enjoying her years working in Christian Education. She received a Master's Degree in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill and loved working as a Reference Librarian more than any occupation. Her mind was such that she was like the Internet before the Internet existed. You had a question, Ruth could find the answer.
Ruth won beauty contests in the military, often for BEST LEGS. If there was an adventure to be had, Ruth was always ready. If photos were to be taken, she often was the lady standing on her head or hanging from a tree but always glamorous and a true lady to a fault.
In later years she was able to visit Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand - preferring trips to material things. Ruth loved walking - hence the "Best Legs". She and her husband walked every day and as often as they could at every opportunity. In later years they were fixtures walking in the many parks in Louisville, Ky. They are also often remembered as walking down Maple Street in Rutherfordton. Robert the elderly man speeding along in his walker and Ruth almost running to keep up, behind him.
In later years it was her dream to walk across the United States, but it was not to be. Eventually Dementia/Alzheimer's came after Ruth. Her husband was her Constant thru the haze, he would read to her and sing to her, he engaged her in life. His first concern, always for her. Through all the fog and the changes in her personality, the loss of many memories and her ability to even swallow, Ruth would always say she was VERY happy, her spirit always visible and her love clear, at times she may not have known what was happening, but she knew faces and she knew who she loved. There were only good times with Ruth, the ugly disease was not her.
Ruth passed quietly away on May 21, 2018 surrounded by the love of her granddaughter and her daughter, Rachel Atherton. In her arms was the cat that adored her, Morris.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband,"BoBo" aka Robert, her parents, her sisters Irene, Lucille, Eula May, Reva, Gertrude, Grace, and Brothers Joseph and Mavon and most recently brother-in-law's Mathew Caruso, Tom Leggett.
She is survived by her beloved sister Jean Leggett, sister-in-law Elaine Caruso and brother-in-law Teddy Wilson and his wife Gloria. She has numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren - like the stars in the sky, a legacy of all that has come before. She also had the love of a lot of beautiful souls she never met, like unseen pen pals, her friends who loved to hear about her on Facebook.
The last words that Ruth wrote says it all, Life is Beautiful.
Crowe's Mortuary is assisting the family.