On the morning of Thursday July 16th, Ruth Holmes Benedict passed away at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC after a 33 month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 81 years old.
Ruth was born in Rocky Mount, NC on December 16th, 1933 to Johnnie Thomas Holmes, and Vivian Clark Conner Holmes. She was an only child. The family moved to Wilson, NC when Ruth was a toddler. She graduated from Charles L. Coon High School in Wilson in 1952. After attending Greensboro College for one year, Ruth transferred to the School of Nursing at The University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, NC. She graduated from UNC in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Ruth began her career as a nurse at North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill. She also worked as a public health nurse in Orange County, NC. In 1962, while she was working in Chapel Hill, Ruth joined the Army Reserve attaining the rank of Captain. She resigned her commission in 1965 to get married. Ruth resumed her career in nursing in 1974 as an Instructor in the nursing program at Atlantic Christian College in Wilson, NC. While working full time there, she earned a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling from East Carolina University. She was also a Nursing Instructor at the University of Mississippi for Women. After living in Mississippi and Hilton Head Island, SC, Ruth and her children moved to Greenville, NC in 1977, where she resumed her career as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University. While working full time and raising two children on her own, Ruth earned a Master of Science in Nursing from East Carolina in 1981. She retired from East Carolina University as a tenured Assistant Professor of Nursing in 1998. She was awarded Emeritus status.
Ruth had several passions in life. Professionally, she loved community health and wellness. She continued walking 3 miles a day after her cancer diagnosis. Additionally, she loved her garden, travelling, politics, UNC Basketball, her friends, and her family—especially her grandchildren. She was the quintessential Southern lady who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She was also the professor that nobody wanted to get, but everyone was glad they had.
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Ruth was preceded in death by her father, Johnnie Thomas (Doc) Holmes, her mother, Vivian Clark Conner (Pris) Holmes, of Wilson, NC, and her husband Ronald James Benedict of Atlanta, GA.
She is survived by her son, R. James (Jim) Benedict, Jr. of Davidson, NC, her daughter, Rhonda Benedict Carlson, of Winterville, NC, her two grandchildren, Sarah Lynn Benedict of Davidson and John Clark Evans of Winterville, and her step-granddaughter, Marina Jansen Carlson of Winterville.
A memorial service to celebrate Ruth’s life will be held at St. James United Methodist Church in Greenville, NC on Saturday, July 25th at 11:00 in the morning. The family will receive friends immediately following the memorial service in the Fellowship Hall. Interment will be at the St. James UMC Columbarium in a private service.
Memorial donations may be made to the Lustgarten Foundation at lustgarten.org, or the Pitt County Humane Society.
Arrangements by Wilkerson Funeral Home & Crematory, Greenville.
Online condolences at www.wilkersonfuneralhome.com