She was born July 25, 1919, to Bunyan and Eula Thomas in South Georgia. She was the second of their 16 children.
She became a member of First Baptist Church of Cleveland in 1946, when she and her husband moved to Bradley County. She served in many capacities in the church and with her Sunday school class.
She graduated from the Berry Girls’ School near Rome, Ga., in 1938, and she and Bill Hale married there in Barnwell Chapel in 1943.
After Bill Hale returned from World War II, he took a job with the University of Tennessee Extension Service and they moved to Bradley County.
She was a community leader and a dedicated volunteer. In addition to her church activities, she was involved as a 4-H volunteer and as a member of the F.C.E. (Home Demonstration Club) for more than 50 years. Ruth and Bill were strong supporters and donors to both the Tennessee 4-H Program and Berry College. They endowed the Hale Master 4-H Family Recognition Program in Tennessee in 1983.
She was the last living charter member of the “Daughters of Berry, Inc.”
For 12 years she was a dedicated volunteer at the Museum Center at Five Points. She started the first day the museum opened. She kept the historical scrapbooks and was the “mother” of the quilt show and was once named Volunteer of the Year.
She also served as a Brownie and Cub Scout leader, chaired the Library Board, was a member of the Woman’s Club and the ESO Reading Club.
She was active in the family greenhouse operation and the vegetable garden. She enjoyed world travel, her flower garden, reading, sewing, cooking and canning. She believed in sharing the fruits of her labors with her many friends and neighbors. She will be greatly missed by her family and all those who called her friend.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 55 years, William M. (Bill) Hale in 1998; cherished grandson, Sean Ealy; and six brothers and sisters.
Survivors include, children and sons-in-law: Elizabeth Moore and John of Jacksonville, Fla., Lamar Hale of Murfreesboro, Barbara Ealy and Ken of Huntsville, Ala., and David Hale of Houston, Texas; grandchildren and spouses: Kathy Clark and John, Jean Sneed and Garth of Cleveland, Kelly Fiore and Brent of Murfreesboro, Michael Ealy and Tara of Chattanooga and Amanda Ealy of Huntsville, Ala.; great-grandchildren: Jennifer and Jacob Clark, Braden, Grace and Myles Sneed and Isabella Fiore; six brothers: Charles, Wayne, Sam, Paul, Louie and Loyd Thomas; and three sisters: Bessie Foster Houston, Eva Chandler and Lula Hayes.
The funeral will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, June 23, 2014, in the chapel of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home with Pastor Jim Gibson officiating.
Interment will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Hilcrest Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday at the funeral home prior to the service.
The family suggests that memorials be made to the Tennessee 4-H Foundation, 205 Morgan Hall, 2621 Morgan Circle, Knoxville, TN 37996-4510 or to the Berry College Advancement Office, P.O. Box 490069, Mt. Berry, GA 30149.
We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Hale family guest book at www.ralphbuckner.com.