Virginia Ruth Bates Segers died peacefully at her home in Hendersonville, Tennessee on Tuesday, December 13, 2016, surrounded by her loving family. Her last weeks were spent in the company of her many friends, some friends since childhood. Ruth was born in Murphy, North Carolina to Creed Fulton and Bonnie Earwood Bates, the youngest of three. She often said that she lived in the best of times in the best of places, with a very happy childhood that was the basis for a very happy life. Ruth was spirited and fun-loving from the beginning, always a person people loved to be around because she loved people. In addition to many activities, she was captain of the cheerleaders and elected 'Most Popular' in high school. She loved her friends from Murphy and kept in close touch with many, never missing a class reunion or the annual Murphy Girls Reunion. She always kept Murphy in her heart.
Ruth attended Western Carolina University, where she met the love of her life, Bill, her freshman year. They were married for almost 55 years, with one cherished daughter, Caroline Steele Segers Shockley.
After several transfers with Sears to cities in Tennessee, Florida and North Carolina, they moved to Hendersonville in 1972, finding the place they wanted to spend the rest of their lives. Ruth's early days of motherhood were spent focused entirely on Caroline. Later she furthered her education at Volunteer State College, where she was a member of Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, selected to Who’s Who, and nominated for Most Outstanding Student in her graduating class.
Ruth had a strong faith in God and spent her life deeply involved in her church, First Presbyterian of Hendersonville. There she was an elder, taught Sunday School, started the Women’s Prayer Group, served on numerous committees, and as church librarian for ten years, was active in adult Sunday School and a Connection Group with friends she loved dearly.
She was active in her neighborhood, Indian Lake; and community, both Hendersonville and Nashville. She was an avid tennis player and walker, logging many miles with her neighborhood group. Ruth and Bill traveled with the same group of close friends on a hiking trip each fall for 30 years. She and her sister participated for 14 years in the Fourth of July Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA. She loved participating in the Thanksgiving Boulevard Bolt in Nashville, and enjoyed exercise and sports of every kind, especially those involving her grandsons and the University of Tennessee. Her first loves were reading and music. She was a charter member of the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, and a charter volunteer. She was a charter member of the Sumner County YMCA, and was instrumental in helping start the ABC program for breast cancer survivors. For many years she was chairman of a Relay for Life group and delivered Meals on Wheels.
She was predeceased by her parents and brother, Gordon Creed Bates. In addition to her husband and daughter, she is survived by her son-in-law Gary Shockley and her beloved grandsons, Connor and Graham Shockley; her sister Carolyn (Dan) Whitmire; her sister-in-law Sandra Bates; nieces and nephews and families, including Mike and Robin Bates (Alison, Creed and Emily); Jeff and Patti Bates (Audrey and Austin); Mike and Laura Bates Garretson (Josh and Riley); Tom and Dianne Whitmire Orr (Davis and Kelley); Brook and Jennifer Whitmire (Allie and James). ‘Aunt Ruthen’ had a great sense of style and humor, and will leave a deep void in the lives of those who loved her.
Visitation with the family will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2016 at Hendersonville Funeral Home, 353 E. Main St., Hendersonville, TN from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, December 18, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Hendersonville, 172 W. Main St., Hendersonville, TN. A private, family burial will take place after the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church of Hendersonville or the ABC program at the Sumner County YMCA.