IN LOVING MEMORY
Ruth Borders Hendrix
1930 - 2022
Ruth Borders Hendrix, 91, cherished wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend, passed from this earth and entered the Kingdom of Heaven on Sunday, March 13, 2022. A resident of Charleston, West Virginia, for 54 years, Ruth more recently lived in Amherst, Ohio, and in her last months and days, received special memory care at The Ganzhorn Suites in Avon.
Ruth was born on November 6, 1930, in Shelby, North Carolina, as the seventh of nine children. She grew up on a working farm and credited her legendary stamina to the years spent alongside her brothers and sisters, picking cotton, corn, beans, and squash, and waking up before school to milk the cows.
After graduating from Number Three High School in Shelby, Ruth went on to earn an Associate in Home Economics from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs; a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina; and eventually a Master of Science in Clothing and Textiles from the Women's College of the University of North Carolina, which is now UNC Greensboro.
Ruth then began a career leading the textiles lab at North Carolina State University, where her colleagues encouraged her to learn statistics in support of the lab’s analysis work. Ruth enrolled in a stats class and met her instructor, a graduate student named Charles Hendrix. Charles, impressed with the tall, smart redhead, asked Ruth out for coffee. This June, Ruth and Charles would have been married 60 years.
The couple moved to Charleston, West Virginia, in 1962, where Charles had accepted a job with chemical corporation Union Carbide. Ruth got right to work immersing herself in the community, living out her faith, making an incredible home for her family, and forming friendships that lasted throughout her life.
Ruth served at her church, Highland Avenue Baptist and later Cross Lanes Baptist, in every way imaginable—she taught Sunday School, sung in the choir, played the piano, and organized meals for families in need. She and Charles planted a vast garden outside the city and produced bumper crops of homegrown vegetables that she canned, froze, gave away generously, and used in the amazing southern dishes she was known for.
As Ruth got to know her fellow Union Carbide wives, many of them from all over the world and brand new to the United States, she saw an opportunity to serve them with more than friendship. So, she enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) training through a program at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. With this training, Ruth spent nearly a decade helping Carbide’s international families learn English, navigate Charleston, and make American meals. In turn they showed her how to prepare their countries’ favorites, which became Hendrix family favorites too.
With her love of learning, her training in textiles, and her skill with a sewing machine, Ruth was intrigued by a particular adult education class that Charleston offered in the early 70s—weaving, taught by Lucy Quarrier, the renowned West Virginia weaver. Ruth took the class and found a lifelong passion. She spent the rest of her life developing her talent for weaving beautiful natural fabrics on a loom, and then transforming them into handmade table linens, blankets, clothing, and accessories that she gifted to family and friends. When the class was no longer offered, she helped launch the Lucy Quarrier Weavers Guild and mentored all its members.
Beyond all her pursuits and accomplishments, Ruth’s first loves were Jesus and her family, and her priority was creating a home full of faith, creativity, and energy. Her door was always open and there was always an extra place, or two or three or ten, at her table. Her hospitality was boundless—she never hesitated to do things like host a Japanese exchange student for a year, make a senior class breakfast for 350 (she really did that!), and take in any of her children’s friends, who still think of her as a second mom today.
Survivors include her husband of 59 years, Charles Dean Hendrix; her children, Susan Wood of Greenville, South Carolina; Laura (Terry) Kemp of Amherst, Ohio; Charles “Charlie” D. (Melanie) Hendrix III of Jacksonville, Florida; and Bill (Astrid) Truman of Simpsonville, South Carolina; her grandchildren, Sera, Seth, Michael, Charles Dean IV “Chad,” and Caroline; five great-grandchildren; and her siblings, Elzie Borders, Charlotte Plemmons, and Jewel Brown.
Ruth was preceded in death by her siblings, W.H. Borders, Henderson Borders, Sara Self, Robert Borders, and Eunice Rhyne; and her parents, William Herbert and Laura Novella Falls Borders.
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