Ruth Elizabeth Wilson LANCASTER - Miss Ruth Elizabeth "Lib" Wilson, 89, of Lancaster passed away Friday, February 8, 2013 at Morningside of Lancaster. She was born March 6, 1923 in Lancaster, a daughter of the late Evan Clyburn Wilson and Ruth Riddle Wilson. Miss Wilson was a member of First United Methodist Church and had served as President of Wilson Gas & Oil Company. A service to celebrate the life of Miss Wilson will be held Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Charles Phillips officiating. Burial will be in the West Side Cemetery. Miss Wilson is survived by a sister, Carolyn Wilson Scott and her husband Don of Lancaster; and nieces and nephews, Trudy Sykes, Bruce Scott, Evan Scott, Phil Scott, Peggy Reskin, Sally Ballard, Patrick Clancy, Michael Clancy, Steven Clancy, Josephine Clancy and Brian Clancy. She was preceded in death by a sister, Luellyn Wilson Clancy. Lib grew up on West Meeting Street in a two story home that is now Bill Fortune's Photography Studio. She attended Lancaster High School and played clarinet in the school's first band. After graduating from Lancaster High, she attended and earned a BA in Social Work from Randolph Macon Women's College. After graduating in 1944, Lib was employed as a child welfare worker in Spartanburg and then employed by the American Red Cross in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her desire to make a difference in society caused her to leave social work and enter the classroom where she spent several years teaching in Georgetown County. Lib's ties to her family and church ultimately caused her to return to Lancaster in 1953 and it was here that she began her employment with Wilson Gas & Oil where she rose up the ranks to Owner and President. It was after her return to Lancaster that she became deeply involved with her church. Not satisfied with only singing in the choir and playing handbells, she served in various offices in United Methodist Women, her Sunday School class, the Trustees ultimately as Chair of Administrative Council. Her work with the Youth of Lancaster was particularly noteworthy and to this day, she was remembered for First United Methodist Church Sunday evening's "Destination Unknown". With a grandfather who served South Carolina as Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives and Superintendent of the State Penitentiary, a father who served Lancaster County in the House of Representatives in the early 1930's, and family friends with Olin D. Johnson, the future U.S. Senator and Governor of South Carolina, Lib was influenced to make service to her community and state a main part of her everyday life. As a Rotarian, Lib truly lived out the Rotary motto, "Service above Self". Full time work with the family business and her church was not enough to satisfy her desire to serve her community and she became involved in local government and the business community. Miss Wilson served as Chairman of the Lancaster Children's Home, the Lancaster County Library Board for over 30 years, and President of the Chamber of Commerce. She was also politically involved with Democratic Party and served as Vice Chairwoman for a number of years. As an appointed Trustee to Columbia College, she served for many years and was ever vigilant in encouraging young women to attend. Her accomplishments were ultimately recognized on the state level when Governor Jim Hodges travelled to Lancaster in 2001 to surprise her with the "Order of the Palmetto", considered the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. Lib was a loving aunt to 11 nieces and nephews, over 20 grand nieces and nephews, over 20 'great' nieces and nephews and "a mother" to countless other children throughout her life. The family will receive friends from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Saturday, February 16, 2013 at Lancaster Funeral Home and other times at the home of Carolyn and Don Scott, 957 Wilson Drive, Lancaster. Memorial contributions may be made to Epworth Children's Home, 2900 Millwood Avenue, Columbia, SC 29205 or the Lancaster County Library, 313 S. White Street, Lancaster, SC 29720. Notes to the family may be made at www.lancasterfuneralhome.com. Lancaster Funeral Home & Cremation Service is serving the family of Miss Wilson.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Feb. 13, 2013