Ruth Pitman Buchanan, 97, of Fairway Lane, Spruce Pine, died Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at the Mitchell House.
Ruth was born Nov. 13, 1921, in Mitchell County, and was the daughter of the late William M. and Etta Ward Pitman. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Glen James Buchanan in 1983; and her sisters, Marie Jarrett, Georgie Fisher, Doris Pitman and Mary Mace. Left to cherish her memory is her daughter, Louise B. Hembree (Randy), of Spruce Pine; her grandson, Justin Hembree, of Weaverville; her brother-in-law, John Mace, of Marion; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Until her passing, Ruth was the oldest member of Spruce Pine First Baptist Church, where she loved to worship, serve and fellowship with her friends until her decline in health prevented her participation. She served as a Sunday School teacher, Baptist Training Union Leader, circle leader and on numerous committees.
For many years Ruth and Glen owned and managed Beaver Creek Grocery in Spruce Pine, however, their faithful customers better knew the store as Glen and Ruth’s Store. Since these were the days before credit cards, customers were able to charge their groceries until payday with no interest. Glen developed a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis at an early age. Ruth became his primary caregiver while also managing the grocery store. The store closed in 1977 due to the construction of the 19E bypass. She and Glen, along with their longtime customers, were saddened to see this “mom-and-pop” establishment close. After the store closed, Ruth began working at the Army Store in Spruce Pine and enjoyed her work until she retired. She was a loyal employee and took pride in helping her customers find the best value.
After retiring, Ruth volunteered at both Spruce Pine Community Hospital and Brian Center for more than 20 years. One of her prized possessions was a plaque she received from the hospital recognizing her service. She was a member of the Red Hats, Mitchell County Homemakers, a Saturday Morning Coffee Club and the Elderberries at her church. Ruth made friends easily and had many close friends, which she continued to socialize with until her health declined to the point she was unable to do so. After spending time with her friends, she would say, “While I’m with my friends I don’t have any pain.”
Ruth and her family love and wish to thank her longtime caregiver, Martha Blanton, as well as Suzanne Dayton, Pat Buchanan and Sandra Woody. The family would also like to extend special thanks to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge and the staff of the Mitchell House for its care and support. Special thanks are also extended to Roger and Nancy Hinshaw, Ann Shortinghouse and Weldon Greene, all from First Baptist, for their frequent visits and dinners each Wednesday.
A burial service will be at Spruce Pine Memorial Cemetery at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. Immediately following the burial service, a memorial service celebrating Ruth’s life will be at 12:30 p.m. at Spruce Pine First Baptist Church. A reception with time to support the family, receive friends and share memories will follow in the church’s fellowship hall.
Instead of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge, 236 Hospital Drive, Spruce Pine, NC 28777.
Words of comfort may be emailed to the family by visiting www.webbfh.com and selecting Ruth P. Buchanan’s name. Webb Funeral Home of Spruce Pine is honored to assist the family.