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Ruth Allen Smith

February 28, 1923 June 13, 2022
Ruth Allen Smith
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Obituary for Ruth Allen Smith

On June 13, 2022, Ruth Allen Smith, dearly loved by all her family and friends, passed away at age 99 to be in heaven and to rejoice in fellowship with her Lord and her previously passed loved ones.

Ruth Allen of Granville County, NC, was born February 28, 1923, to Obie Battle Allen and Hazel York Allen. She grew up in the country near Creedmoor and loved the outdoors, especially riding her horse through the surrounding woods and fields. After her mother died at a young age, Ruth was raised by her beloved Aunt Bessie and Uncle Mel.

Along with her sister Marion, Ruth attended and graduated from East Carolina Teachers College. After graduation, she took a teaching position in Plymouth where she met and married Elmer Harold Browning of Plymouth. Following their wedding, the couple went on a storybook honeymoon to New York City, which included dancing to big bands at the Waldorf Astoria. Ruth had a special bond with her sister Marion Haskins and husband Hugh Bryant. Over the years, she and Elmer took many trips with the Haskins. Ruth also maintained a special bond with Marion and Hugh Bryant's sons, Bryant and David, along with their families.

During their 39 years of marriage, Ruth and Elmer owned and operated Browning's Department store in Plymouth, and she developed many close and enduring friendships. She and Elmer raised and nurtured three children and imparted in them a strong religious foundation. Both Ruth and Elmer were active members of Plymouth Church of Christ, where Elmer served as a deacon and she as a Sunday School teacher.

Ruth was passionately invested in her children's lives in the arenas of school, church and sports. She eagerly participated in her children's activities, including Vacation Bible School, Brownie Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Little and Babe Ruth Leagues and high school sports. She rarely ever missed a sports activity that one of her children were involved in, even if the venue was located several counties away from Plymouth.

After her children graduated from college, married their sweethearts and moved away - two to Raleigh and oldest son to Atlanta and then Charlotte - she and Elmer took frequent trips to visit them. Once grandchildren started to arrive on the scene, the frequency of these visits significantly increased.

After the death of Elmer in 1984, Ruth sold the store and her home in Plymouth and moved to Raleigh. A few years after moving to Raleigh, she married a fine Christian man, John Clayton Smith. They were happily married for 22 years until his death in 2012. Johnnie had two children, Clay and Margo, and Ruth shared an especial closeness with Margo, who made frequent trips to visit from Atlanta. During her time in Raleigh until her death, Ruth was devoted to her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all who adored her. Her life was filled with the joy of watching these young ones grow up and being involved in all aspects of their lives.

For the last years of her life, Ruth lived at Springmoor in Raleigh and developed many close friends. She remained very active and independent and only stopped driving her own car in Raleigh at age 98. She especially enjoyed biweekly games of Rummikub with her Springmoor friends and knitting for others. Ruth never truly "grew old" and remained sharp and energetic till the end. Just two days prior to her passing, she was walking on the beach at Emerald Isle and enjoying the swim spa at her daughter and son-in-law's cottage.

Ruth's life was one of strong religious faith and an exuberant love of life and family. It can truly be said that hers was a life well lived. The void she leaves in our lives will remain unfilled, but we take comfort in remembering her joy of living and all she meant and continues to mean to us. Ruth, rest in eternal peace with the Lord. We know that one day we will be together again, living in perfect love, joy and peace forever.

Ruth is survived by her children, Mel (Georgia) Browning, John (Sheree) Browning, Hazel (Norm) Possiel, nephews David (Lynne) Haskins and Bryant (Karen) Haskins, stepchildren Clay (Juny) Smith and Margo Timberlake, six grandchildren: Ashlynn (Ray) Greene, Erin (Casey) Moody, Ben (Megan) Possiel, Scott Possiel, Adam (Diana) Browning, Laura (Jon) Grant and ten great grandchildren: Thomas and Henry Greene, Aiden, Tucker and Cohen Moody, Grayson, Charlotte and Daniel Possiel, and Griffin and Collins Browning.

She is preceded in death by her first and second husbands, Elmer Browning and Johnnie Smith, by her sister Marion and husband Hugh Bryant Haskins, and by her grandson, Will Browning.

A memorial service will be held at Springmoor Retirement home auditorium at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, 2022. A graveside service will be held at the family's gravesite at Windley Cemetery in Plymouth, NC at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 19, 2022.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to the Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center, 3311 Carl Sandburg Court, Raleigh, NC 27610 or Creedmoor Road Baptist Church, 6001 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC 27612.

Arrangements are by Montlawn Funeral Home in Raleigh and Maitland Funeral Home, Plymouth.

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