Ruth Mae Simmons was born July 4th 1938 on St. Helena’ s Island in Beaufort, SC, the only child to Maebelle Smith. While Ruth was still an infant, her mother suddenly passed and she was then placed in the care of her grandmother Josephine Smith. At the age of 5, while Christmas shopping for Ruth her grandmother was tragically killed in a bus accident. From 5 to 13 yrs. old, Ruth was passed along from relative to relative living as far as South Carolina and as close as Harrisburg, PA, many times traveling by train alone. While living in Beaufort, Ruth attended South Pine School until transitioning to Harrisburg, Pa. where she then attended Wicker Sham School until the 8th grade due to the having to care for her ailing aunt. Ruth gave birth to 8 beautiful children Deborah Smith Balkcom, Diane Wilson-Bedford (Tommie), Cynthia Wilson Little (Alexander), Brenda Simmons, Louis Simmons Jr. (Brenda), all of Harrisburg, PA and Stacey Simmons of Chesapeake, VA. Ruth was called to glory on December 2, 2018 and was preceded in death by her mother Maebelle Smith, grandmother Josephine Smith, Aunt Roseina Hill, her Pop Isaac Hill-Burke, her cousins James Hill and Sylvia Hill-Bryant, son Marvin Wilson and daughter Valerie Simmons. Along with her children, she leaves to cherish her memory her Faithful cousin Richard Hill of Pasadena CA. 19 grandchildren, 56 great-children and 3 great-great grandchildren.
Ruth started her spiritual journey as a child at St. Paul’s Baptist Church. She grew up finding her way until joining Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in 1980. As a member of Macedonia, she used her gifts by singing in the choir and helping with crafts for Vacation Bible School every year. She made robes for the youth choir and costumes for many other church functions. She was known for Arranging flowers for the alter and sending cards to the sick. In 2004 Ruth joined Bridge of Faith Ministries under Bishop Larry Harris and was affectionately known as “Mother Simmons.” She was actively involved in the outreach ministries, praise team and choir.
Ruth was a loving and giving person who would give her all to anyone in need. She stepped into the motherly role of raising 5 of her grandchildren: Samia Wilson, Kijuanna Wilson-Ewell, Ruth (Doll) Simmons, Mateen Richardson (until age 4), and Denzell Simmons. Ruth loved to wear stylish hats, and enjoyed sewing and shopping with her buddy and daughter Cynthia. She also loved singing and creating catchy tunes with her grandchildren, the most memorable song of all would be “Doom-A-Lacka.” Nana, as we know her, was the epitome of class. She will truly be missed.