Ruth Harrison, wife, mother, teacher, musician, cook, athlete, decorator, gardener, went to be with her Lord Jesus on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at her home in Philpot, KY.
She was preceded in death by her mother, June Martell, and father, Richard Martell. She is survived by husband, Vic Harrison, sons, Andrew Harrison (Meagan) of Owensboro, and David Harrison (Emily) of Knoxville, TN; brother, Dan Martell (Christa) of Habit; and sister, Martha Hoskinson (Ed) of White Plains.
Born Ruth Marie Martell on November 9, 1961, in Madisonville, Kentucky, Ruth grew up in Nebo, Kentucky, attending Nebo Elementary, where her mother was her fourth grade teacher. Ruth was a point guard on the region-winning West Hopkins High School Rebelettes basketball team, and also played softball and tennis, and played flute in the band. She graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan College where she majored in vocal music/music education. She earned the fifth-year masters degree certificate from Northern Kentucky University and a Rank 1 in Special Education from Campbellsville University.
She was a substitute teacher in Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Springfield, KY. She taught music at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Home in Louisville, KY, at Ockerman Middle School in Florence, KY, and at Seven Hills Elementary in Owensboro. Then she was a long-time special needs teacher at Foust Elementary until her retirement.
Ruth served the Lord by offering her gift of song and leadership to thousands. Her love for Jesus and her Christian witness was clear, whether she was sharing a word of encouragement with her co-workers, or singing before crowds large and small. She performed for weddings throughout the state, singing and playing piano. She served as the Minister to Children at Springfield Baptist Church and directed the children’s choirs both at Springfield and at Burlington Baptist Church, Burlington, KY. She also directed Vacation Bible Schools, and organized and hosted senior adult “game nights” at both locations.
Since 1999 Ruth was an active member at First Baptist Church, Owensboro. While at FBC Owensboro she performed as a soloist, as a choir member, and sang with the ensemble, Rejoice. She served on several committees through the years and enjoyed playing on the women’s softball team. She was a faithful partner and minister with her husband wherever he served, and continued that role as a co-teacher and “chief encourager” for the Adult 4 “Fellowship” class at First Baptist, Owensboro. Ruth was an encourager to everyone, making each person feel welcome and lending quick-witted humor at every opportunity in their Bible study classes and social gatherings. One of her greatest joys was sharing her home and gift of hospitality with her church family. She also enjoyed participating in mission opportunities in Owensboro, in Mexico, and in the American west with the music ministry and the youth ministry at FBC.
Ruth loved to raise her voice in song to the Lord. She also enjoyed playing piano, raising flowers, making flower arrangements, mowing the yard, playing with pets, playing ping pong, cooking, hosting “get-togethers”, and decorating for the seasons. She was known for her elaborate Christmas trees filled with unique ornaments from across the country and the world and for her lantern collection. But what struck people most about Ruth was her quick, witty humor, and her contagious positive outlook. She had an uncommon zest for life.
At home she was a tireless cheerleader and supporter of her husband and family. She always wanted them to feel special and spared no effort or expense to make it so. She constantly found joy in doing small things and large things for them. Her gifts of song, hospitality, and humor made Ruth the perfect spouse to compliment her husband’s ministry, and she was his best friend and advisor.
Services will be at 1:00pm on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 at First Baptist Church, 230 J.R. Miller Blvd, in Owensboro. Those attending the service will need to enter the church on the Daviess Street entrance. Burial will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. Visitation will be on Tuesday from 3:00pm until 7:00pm at James H. Davis Funeral Home & Crematory. The number of those attending the visitation or funeral service shall be in compliance with current health and public safety directives while family and friends shall wear appropriate personal protective masks.
Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at www.lls.org or Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, 2050 Versailles Rd, Lexington, KY 40504.