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January 4, 1930 ~ December 10, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Ruthie Lean Smith Thomas was born January 4th, 1930, to the union of Theodore Smith and Queen Esther Jackson Smith, in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. She attended Marion Anderson High School, in Brinkley, Arkansas. At an early age she became a member of Taylor Chapel Methodist until moving away. Growing up, she and her family worked on the farm, shared chores and fun with her siblings. “She could hurl a softball with great speed and was a skilled Doubled Dutch Jump Rope Champ.”
She met and married the love of her life, her husband, Fred Thomas. To this union nine children were born. Ruthie Lean worked at Peterson Von Maur, CrowValley, and St. Mark, before retiring after a long and successful career at the Rock Island Arsenal. Ruthie Lean had many hobbies that kept her active such as fishing, gardening, sewing, canning, quilting, crossword puzzles and watching Jeopardy. She was an excellent cook, enjoyed the company of her pet birds, and devoted energetic dog.
Ruthie Lean's generous spirit extended beyond her immediate family. The happiness she received from nurturing her younger siblings, numerous relatives, and friends knew no bounds. She welcomed everyone she encountered with open arms, while offering unwavering support and love. Her generosity shown through as she and her husband offered their home to many who left the small southern countryside of Dark Corner, Arkansas. Ruthie Lean's kindness made significant impact on many individuals who were able to use their home and support as a launching pad for their own success.
While Ruthie Lean was generally known for her kind and gentle nature, she was not one to be messed as she could definitely hold her own. This was especially seen when ANYONE messed with her husband, children, or grandchildren. She would become a protective momma bear towards them and get them straight. Her way of discipline was through her eyes. They could definitely get your attention. Ruthie's love for her family was unmatched.
Ruthie Lean Thomas' life was one filled with selflessness, dedication, and steadfast love for those around her.
Ruthie Lean passed away at her home, surrounded by her family, on December 10, 2023. She was preceded in death by her parents; Theodore and Queen Esther Smith; husband Fred Thomas; children: Kenneth Thomas and Ruth Esther Smith; siblings: Cleora Smith, John Wesley Smith, Elfletta Smith, Loretha Reid, Earnest Smith, Lula Randle, Ora Dessa McQueen, and Therloe Smith; grandchildren Jason Smith and Lonzo Thomas.
Left to cherish Ruthie Lean in memory are her children: Alonzo Thomas, Marilyn Thomas, Kent Williams, Warren Lee Thomas, Janice (Tyrone) Williams, William Thomas, Larry Thomas, and Beatrice Thomas; siblings: Theoplis Smith, Arnell (Deborah) Smith, Ehlihue (Colleen) Shah, VanQuilla Smith, Janet Epps, Gloria Lee, Yvette Williams, Arlean (Donald) Williams, and Maggie Green; and a host of relatives and friends.