Ruth was born Sept. 9, 1925, in the Crosno Community of Mississippi County, in the farm house on Crosno land, to the late Samuel Tilden and Ava Pearl Hurry Crosno. The family moved to town about 12 years later.
Wanting to go to college, Ruth took a summer job at the Brown Shoe Factory earning money to pursue that goal. She was a 1943 graduate from Charleston, Mo. High School and earned both her BS and MS degrees from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau in 1947 and 1954 respectively, as well as a masters degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1956.
Ruth taught school for 33 years with her first teaching job in Sikeston, Mo.
Most of her teaching career was in the Metropolis City Schools, teaching on the junior high and elementary levels. She adored her teaching career and touched many lives with her open heart and generosity.
When students could not afford their school pictures, she purchased them. If a student was in need of medical care, clothing or food, she saw that it was provided.
She truly believed those who could lend a helping hand should do so with dignity.
She loved teaching history and prepping eighth-grade students for the required state “Constitution tests” with her special Constitution bingo. Teaching the government process for enacting state and federal laws was a passion that came alive through her timely stories of important wars, events and people, and relaying how our founding fathers with all their diligent fortitude, fought fiercely and died courageously, thereby, obtaining freedom for our country.
She possessed a sharp wit, penetrating mind and keen sense of humor instilling a love for furthering one’s education. She believed education was something that could never be taken away nor place one person above another; it was merely a tool that could pave a better path for a better life.
She always told her daughter and students to pursue an education with fierce determination and to use it well and wisely. Many students remembered her as “the best or most interesting teacher” they ever had. She used to say she hoped to have made a difference in someone’s life by influencing him or her to pursue “a good education to help one earn a decent, honest living.”
While in Metropolis, Ruth was a member of the Delta Theta Tau service sorority, Business and Professional Women’s organization, several bridge clubs and First Baptist Church. She served on many educational committees and volunteered for youth organizations involving her daughter.
Grass did not grow under her feet. She was a regional bridge master in Illinois and Kentucky, playing the game faithfully in both states until her few latter years in declining health. She fondly reminisced about all the wonderful tournaments, clubs, people and great partners she was blessed to have experienced.
After retiring from her teaching career, she traveled to Europe and Hawaii, as well as taking many trips to the Midwest region and North Carolina, while remaining active in her community before she relocated to Kentucky.
She is survived by her husband, Thomas Harold Greenwell, of Henderson; and her only child, Jennifer Jo Terry-Baker of Wilmington, N.C.
In addition to her father and mother, she was preceded in death by her sister, Marion C. Cobb of East Prairie; and a sister who died at birth.
Private services and burial will be held on the Crosno Family Plot at the IOOF Cemetery in Charleston.
Memorials may be made to: The Mississippi County Historical Society, P.O. Box 312, Charleston, MO 63834; or to the Clara Drinkwater Newnam Library, P.O. Box 160, Charleston, MO 63834.
McMikle Funeral Home of Charleston is in charge of arrangements.