Grace Louise Ruhle Smith, 89, passed away at home Dec. 23, 2012. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., attended New York University
and received her RN degree from St. John's Hospital, Brooklyn. At St. John's, she met Dr. James Jefcoat Smith, of Greenville. They were married in the hospital chapel. After James's military service, they moved to Greenville in 1946. Grace worked at the family's medical clinic until they both retired.
Grace loved the outdoors and nature. Growing up she was a Scout, from Brownies through Mariners. She was a Girl Scout Leader for 10 years, Regional Camping Chairman for 3 years and earned the highest Life Award in Scouting. Grace was quite active in several conservation and environmental organizations. She was a charter member of the Cypress Group of the Sierra Club and played a leading role in its environmental policies, service projects, and outings events for 35 years. She served as President of the Greenville Garden Club, received the "Great Blue Heron Award" for service to the Pamlico Tar River Foundation, was a charter member of the River Park North Bird Club and was a patron of numerous related organizations. Grace shared her love of birding, hiking, wilderness camping, kayaking, and fishing with her devoted family and a multitude of friends.
She was preceded in death by parents, Philip Fred Ruhle and Elsie Raab Ruhle; husband, James Jefcoat Smith; and brother, Philip Henry Ruhle. She is survived by two daughters, Carolyn Anne Smith of Winterville, and Robin Small of Abingdon, Va., and husband David; and by grandchildren, Brian David Small of Greenville and Grace Louise Small of Abingdon; and several nephews.
A private family service is planned. A memorial gathering will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Pamlico Tar River Foundation at PO Box 1854 Washington, NC 27889 or Unnatural Resources Institute, Inc. PO Box 20524 Greenville, NC 27858. Arrangements by Wilkerson Funeral Home and Crematory. Online condolences at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com.