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Get to Know your Neighbor: Ruth White

By Marion Mayes

I hope you have had the opportunity to meet Ruth White. She is the lady with a wonderful smile who plays an excellent game of ping pong. Maybe you did not know that about Ruth. And you probably did not know that she was born in Cameroon, West Africa, to parents who were Presbyterian missionaries. Ruth was next to last of six children. She lived in Paris for one year to learn the language. The family came back to the United States every three years for nine months.

Ruth’s father died while she was in grade school. The family had returned to the States while he was ill, and then Ruth’s mother, Ruth, and the youngest sibling returned to Africa after his death. She came back to the States when she was 13.

As a student at Berea College in Kentucky, she met her husband Wendell White. After receiving his master’s degree at Syracuse, Wendell was City Manager in three cities – Grundy, VA; Hampton, VA; and Charlotte, NC. Ruth was a teacher and librarian in Grundy, VA. In Hampton, she taught fourth and sixth grades.

Before she and Wendell got married, Ruth went to Germany with American Friends Service as part of a work camp to help rebuild Germany after the war. She helped rebuild houses and repainted a children’s center there.

Ruth and Wendell have three daughters and a son. One of the daughters lives here in Wilmington.

After Wendell retired, the two of them had some wonderful travels together – to Russia, China, Italy, France and Switzerland. Wendell, who is living at Bradley Creek, ran a marathon in Berlin at the age of 73.

The NC Mountains, near Sparta, was home for Wendell and Ruth for twenty years. They built a wonderful mountain home there. They moved to Wilmington in 2008, where one of their daughters lives. Wendell moved to Bradley Creek in August 2019; Ruth followed him to Carolina Bay in November of that year. She and Wendell have been married for 63 years.

In addition to visiting Wendell at Bradley Creek, Ruth enjoys reading, playing the piano, and bridge. She can found most Thursday evenings playing ping pong with the “Ping Pong Club.”