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Ruth Hurst Smith, 84, died Monday, April 6, 2020 at Vidant North Hospital, Halifax County.


A Halifax County native, Ruth was born September 10, 1935, a daughter of Reverend E. E. Hurst and Leithy Arwood Hurst. 

Her parents; husband, Billy Ray Smith, Sr.; son, Michael Lee Smith, and 4 sisters and 5 brothers all preceded her in death.

Ruth served as a weaver at J. P. Stevens for many years. She received a CNA degree from Halifax Community College and served as a CNA for Carolina Rest Home for some time. 

Ruth was also a retired Correctional Officer with Fountain Women’s Facility in Rocky Mount. She was a long time, devoted member of Liberty Pentecostal Holiness Church where she was affectionately known as “Ma Ruth.” 

She enjoyed spending time with family, thrifting, cooking, attending her church, reading her Bible, and singing and sharing the gospel. Ruth will forever be remembered for her immense sense of charity and support of God’s work. 

Survivors include her five sons and wives; Terry and Debra Ellis, Billy and Judy Smith, Tony and Gail Smith, Earl and Renee’ Smith, Timmy and Sonya Smith; her daughter and husband, Pudden and John Gorlesky; 15 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great grandchild.

A private graveside service will be held at 2pm Friday at Crestview Cemetery in Roanoke Rapids.  Plans for a public memorial service will be announced at a later date. 

Due to CDC recommendations for COVID-19, (social distancing and decreasing attendees at group gatherings), the funeral home will restrict attendance numbers for all services at this time. The graveside service will be live-streamed by Hockaday Funeral Home of Roanoke Rapids.