Ruth Lillian Smith
Jan. 24, 1925 to May 28, 2016
Ruth Lillian Smith, wife of the Rev. Donald J. Smith and much loved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, went to her heavenly home at age 91 on Saturday, May 28, 2016 at College Pines Nursing Facility in Rutherford College, where she had spent the last three years.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the daughter of Clarence and Marie Hefler, she was the first in her family to attend college, earning a B.A. degree from Anderson College (IN) where she met and married Don. In later life she earned an M.A. from Appalachian State University and taught language arts at East Burke High School for 16 years.
Ruth and Don spent many years in the ministry together, and she was the unofficial co-pastor for 13 years at the Church of God in Alpena, Michigan and then for a total of 30 years at the Drexel First Church of God and the Morganton First Church of God. Ruth will be remembered for her many accomplishments, including music director, drama producer, director of youth musicals, and organizer of many educational and entertaining evening events for these congregations. In 1996, Ruth was ordained a pastor in the Church of God in recognition of her many years of church and community service.
Ruth and Don travelled extensively over the years, visiting 36 countries, including service trips to Uganda, the Philippines, Barbados, Tobago, and Haiti. They visited every continent except Antarctica and South America.
Ruth is survived by her husband of 69 years, Pastor Don; two sons, Joe (Vicky) and Tom, both of Washington, D.C.; two daughters, Donita Deal (Don) of Drexel and Kris Icard (Randy) of Rutherford College; grandchildren, Casey Smith of New York City, Emmy Woody of Richmond, Donielle Rector of Drexel, Tim Icard of Asheville, Donovan Deal of Holly Springs, Tom Smith of Lemoore Naval Air Station, CA, Hallie Smith of Washington, D.C., and Sam Icard of Rutherford College; and six great-grandchildren.
The family will receive friends from 6 – 8 p.m., Friday, June 3, 2016 at Sossoman Funeral Home. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 4 at Morganton First Church of God on Summers Road with Pastor Jon McDivitt officiating. Entombment will follow in Burke Memorial Park Mausoleum.
Memorial contributions may be made to Morganton First Church of God Building Fund or to the Philippines Mission Project, both in care of Morganton First Church of God, 675 Summers Road, Morganton, NC 28655.
Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.
You are invited to send personal condolences to the families using the form below.
If you'd like to subscribe to receive notifications of new obituaries you can do so on our obituary notification signup page.