Bethel University honors the late Mrs. Ruth Morris for her lifelong generosity
McKenzie, TN – Lifelong Carroll County resident and community leader Mrs. Ruth Morris was honored by members of the Bethel University Board of Trustees for distinguished service during ceremonies held recently at the university.
Mrs. Morris, who served on Bethel’s Board of Trustees from 1984 to 1987, went home to be with her Lord on Nov. 7, 2016, at the age of 97. In their official Proclamation, the Board of Trustees lauded Ruth for a lifetime of “accomplishment, generosity, and integrity.”
Her life had an immeasurable impact on our community and its citizens. Shortly after graduating from McLemoresville High School in 1938, Ruth began working for the AAA office in Huntingdon, Tennessee. Two years later, she went to work at the McKenzie Banking Company as a cashier, where she quickly rose to the position of vice president. She was elected president in 1975, becoming one of the first female bank presidents in the state. Admired for her solid personal values, ethics, and beliefs, she retired in 1986 after 46 years of service.
In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Ruth was active in the McKenzie Cumberland Presbyterian Church where she served as an elder, taught Sunday school, and was chairperson of the Finance Committee. She served her community in numerous leadership roles, including the McKenzie Hospital Board, the Housing Authority, the Memorial Library Board, the Indigent Care Board, treasurer of United Neighbors, and the Mount Olivet Cemetery Board. She was once recognized as Tennessee’s "Woman of the Year" for her many selfless contributions.
As a last testament of her love of Jesus and Bethel University, Mrs. Morris left a generous gift to the university of $250,000, in addition to $1 million to be divided equally between the McKenzie Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the McKenzie First Baptist Church.
Bethel University Board of Trustees member Dr. Ed Perkins said the word that comes to mind when talking about the life of Ruth Morris is “achievement.”
“She lived a life of generosity, accomplishment, and kindness – in other words, true achievement. Her gifts to Bethel University, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and her husband’s own First Baptist Church are evidence of this,” Perkins said. “Whether as a bank president, an elder in her church, or a member of Bethel’s Board of Trustees, she led the way in encouraging institutions to perform above and beyond their own perceived capabilities.”
In their Proclamation, Board members stated that Ruth “emulated the Apostle Paul’s life in fighting the good fight, finishing the course, and keeping the faith.” During the ceremony, the group officially extended its deepest appreciation for her life of service and generosity.
Bethel University President Dr. Walter Butler called Ruth Morris a true servant of Christ.
“In this season of giving, Miss Ruth reminds us that generosity and selflessness are lifelong attributes that live on even after our passing,” he said. “We are humbled to serve as stewards of her gifts as they continue to bless others for generations to come.”
Robbie Barker, sister of Ruth Morris, and John Barker, brother-in-law of Ruth Morris, receive a Proclamation in honor of the late Ruth Morris.