LAKE ALFRED - Ruth Sands Smith, 79, of Lake Alfred, FL, passed away July 11th , 2014 of cancer.
She was born September 23rd, 1934 to Gilbert (Ted) and Ruth French Sands in Mehoopany, Pennsylvania.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Donald, Raymond, and Gary Sands, and her sisters Frances Sands, Ellen Miller, and Rosemary Shoemaker.
Ruth was a loving wife of 50 years to E.B. Smith, and a mother to nine children: Shelia Wood, R. Julia Rohman (Malik), Audrey Thompson (Stephen), Denise Henning (Jeff Strickland), Elaine Erb (Gary), Ed Henning, Jr. (Barbara), Laurie Uhl, and Pamela Cobb (Stan Muraszko). She was preceded in death by her son, David Smith. Ruth was a grandmother to 12, great-grandmother to 15, and a "second mother" to many more.
Ruth retired from the Polk County Health Department, where she rose to the position of Accounting Supervisor. She was a Past Matron of Winter Haven Chapter #74, Order of Easter Star; a Kentucky Colonel; a member of the Gavel Club; and Treasurer for her local TOPS. She and E.B. enjoyed working the polls during elections. She was loved by all who knew her.
Family was the most important thing in Ruth's life. In the last six months, she was visited by her surviving brothers, Korah Sands with his wife Anna, and Gilbert Sands; many close friends and family; and each one of her children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren who traveled from as far away as Japan to see her.
Ruth loved turtles, the symbol of steadfastness, tranquility, patience, and wisdom, traits that she embodied. In contrast to the turtle's reputation as a slow creature, her children nicknamed her the "Energizer Bunny" because she was so active until her illness slowed her down. She loved the music of Charley Pride, and looked forward to attending the Strawberry Festival every year to see him. Ruth and E.B. also enjoyed going to the beach. She inherited her green thumb from her father, Ted, growing many plants and flowers around her home.
Ruth's family will receive friends at Steele's Family Funeral Service on Dundee Road in Winter Haven, FL, Saturday July 19th, starting at 1pm with a memorial Service starting at 2pm.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the George Forsythe Good Shepherd Hospice at 105 Arneson Avenue, Auburndale, FL, 33823. Their wonderful staff helped us make her final journey peaceful.
Steele's Family Funeral Home
207 Burns Lane SE Winter Haven, FL 33884
Published in Ledger from July 16 to July 17, 2014