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Clare Ruggles Smith Obituary

Clare R. Smith 1926 - 2013 Clare Ruggles Smith of Charlottesville, Va., died Friday August 16, 2013, in Durham, North Carolina. She was born on August 27, 1926, in Dallas, Texas, one of four daughters of William and Dorothy Ruggles. After graduation from Highland Park High School, Clare attended the University of Texas, where she met and married William S. Smith. She completed her Masters of Arts in English at Columbia University in 1950 while Bill completed his Divinity degree at Union Seminary. Clare received her Ph.D. in Old and Middle English from Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, in 1969. Together Clare and Bill served four Presbyterian churches in Hamilton, Brownwood, and Lubbock, Texas, and Charlottesville, Virginia. Clare's life was dedicated to her husband and children, to social action within the church, and to local Democratic politics. She pursued a lifelong interest in the Arthurian legends culminating in a grant to study at the British Museum during the summer of 1973. During her life, she wrote several novellas for young people and numerous stories to be read in church about the true meaning of Christmas. When the family moved to Charlottesville for Bill to assume the ministry at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Clare began her teaching career at Sweetbrier College and concluded it teaching writing at Piedmont Virginia Community College. Across the years she also taught youth and adult Sunday school classes at the church. In Charlottesville Clare actively participated in local Democratic politics. From 1969 until 1989 she served on or lead the Walker Precinct Committee of the Charlottesville Democratic Party. She spent hours on the phone and many cold early mornings at the polls. In later life, when Clare and Bill moved to Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge, Clare assumed leadership of the WCBR play-reading group-choosing one-act plays to read aloud and leading lively follow-up discussions. She also created a group of resident Democrats and organized issue-oriented presentations by local and state candidates. Clare enjoyed travel to museums and historic sites. She especially loved family trips to the beach, with sunrise walks to collect shells and pleine aire watercolor painting. Bill and Clare's Texas Independence and 4th of July parties are legendary. The remaining family who loved Clare include her sister, Anne Ruggles Bromberg (Alan Bromberg) of Dallas; and her children, Dorothy Smith of Charlottesville and Kathe Dunder (Thomas Dunder) of Chapel Hill. Daughter Anne Shumake died in 1998. The family wishes to thank Seasons at Southpoint (Durham, North Carolina) and Heartland Hospice of North Carolina for their care of Clare. A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 Rugby Road, Charlottesville Virginia, on Saturday, September 14, 2013, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts would be appreciated by the Democratic Party of Virginia, 1710 East Franklin Street, Richmond VA 23223 ( or the Mission and Outreach Fund at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 Rugby Road, Charlottesville VA 22901.

This obituary was originally published in the Daily Progress.
Read Full Obituary for Clare Smith
Published online on August 25, 2013 courtesy of Daily Progress.

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