Charlotte Brewer Ruth died at her home in Chapel Hill on the morning of May 23rd. Her husband and two children were beside her. She was 68 years old. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, Charlotte had bravely wrung five more great years from life, traveling with her husband and friends and frequently visiting her grandchildren in Oregon and Florida.
Charlotte was born in Alexandria, Louisiana to Frank and Charlene Gorman Brewer, the second of two daughters. Frank owned and managed the Brewer-Neinstedt lumber business. When she and her sister Frances were still children (Charlotte, 6 years; Frances, 15 years) their mother Charlene Brewer died of breast cancer at the age of 42. Their father remarried and Charlotte grew up with four brothers, adopted by her father, and two younger siblings born later.
Charlotte graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She met her husband John Edwin Ruth Jr. at SMU and they married in 1965. Charlotte was 18 and John was 20 when they met and they had 50 vibrant and close years together. Charlotte was a homemaker, a schoolteacher, and, later, she got a master's degree in social work from UNC and worked as a psychiatric social worker at Butner Hospital , Duke and OPC. She also taught ESL. She and John lived many places, spending the most years in Plano, Texas; in Atlanta, Georgia; and,for the last twenty-two years of Charlotte's life, in Chapel Hill. Charlotte was a person fascinated by other people and she made many friends in all of these places. She was also fascinated by history, reading widely and traveling to many countries in Europe and Asia.
Charlotte was a wonderful mother to her and John's son and daughter, Greg (45) and Jennifer (43), and a wonderful grandmother to their four children: Brenna Ruth, 17; Wyatt Ruth, 12; Charlotte Cowan-Ruth, 12; Tian Cowan-Ruth, 8. Many books were read, many gingerbread houses built, many pictures taken on many adventures: she left many special memories for her grandchildren.
Charlotte is survived by these family members and also by her sister Frances and Frances's children, her sister-in-law Beryll Ruth and brother-in-law George Ruth and their children.
Charlotte and her friend Jean Ebert established an organization they called "No to O(varian cancer)" to build awareness of ovarian cancer, support research, and provide services to those suffering from the disease. Donations to No to O are welcome tributes to Charlotte's life (NotoO.org). Those who wish to remember Charlotte are warmly invited to a celebration of her life to be held at the North Carolina Botanical Gardens(Reeves Auditorium) on Sunday, June 23rd from 11 am to 1 pm.