The Camellia City of the South lost one of its best-known citizens May 1. Ruth Hall Knox passed away at University Hospital at the age of 86 after battling complications from a stroke.
She was commonly referred to as "The First Lady of Thomson," even though it was her son who had followed in his father's footsteps to become mayor. But it wasn't her high-profile family for which most remember her.
"She was the best example of a Christian woman that anybody could ever want to meet," said Mary Lynn Bellman, former music director at Thomson First United Methodist Church. "None of us are perfect, of course, but Mrs. Ruth was the closest thing there was. She always was kind and gentle, and she was always open for talking. She was a great guide. She had much wisdom and such a graciousness about her."
Mrs. Knox, a resident of Thomson for more than 60 years, was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church, serving in numerous positions at Thomson FUMC. She was also a 1940 graduate of Wesleyan College and an active alumna and generous supporter.
Mrs. Bellman said Mrs. Knox had a very caring and warm spirit, and the two became close friends and later next-door neighbors. She commented that Mrs. Knox was the quintessential southern lady.
"There was no one that she didn't care for, and she always had good things to say about people and tried to keep positive. Even through the tough times, she always just tried to keep her chin up," Mrs. Bellman said. "She was the strongest woman I've ever known."
Many also remember her as a fine gardener. She was a devoted member of the Garden Study Club and McDuffie Garden Council and served as president of both on several occasions.
According to her obituary, she was the daughter of the late Virginia Middleton Hall and Reverend Clarence Andrew Hall, a minister in the North Georgia Annual Conference.
She is survived by her sons Robert Edward Knox, Jr., and Andrew Hall Knox, both of Thomson, and her daughter Ruth Austin Knox, of Macon. Mrs. Knox is also survived by seven grandchildren, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and several nieces and nephews.
Her husband, Robert Edward Knox, and daughter Mary Knox McNeill preceded her in death.
A memorial service for Mrs. Knox was held on May 4 at Thomson FUMC, with Rev. Sam H. Coker and Rev. Thomas A. Kerr officiating. The Knox family received friends on May 3 at the Curtis Funeral Home.