Martha Stuart

Ruth Stuart

Sunday, December 25th, 1927 - Saturday, April 25th, 2020
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Ruth Stuart peacefully passed into eternal life on April 25th after 92 years upon this earth. She came into this world on Christmas Day in 1927, born at home in Brick Church, Tennessee. Her parents were David Ivie Derryberry and Malissa Virginia (Overcast) and they named her Martha Ruth. She was the youngest and the last surviving of 13 children; Gertye, Audrey, Wade, Zollie, Cecil, Elmo, Edna, Virginia, William, Harold, Raymond and Neva.
She grew up on a Tennessee farm with southern charm and chores, even riding her pony Dimples to school as a young girl. Ruth was a star basketball player on the championship team where she graduated from high school in Marshal County, Tennessee. Ruth was married to Herbert Gray Richards, DDS from 1947 until his death in 1965. Ruth and Gray moved to Palatka on New Years Day in 1952, choosing the city for his dental practice because of its beauty and their love of fishing upon the St. Johns River. Ruth and Gray had three children.
From 1967-1977 Ruth was married to Ed Hedstrom and they built a beautiful home on the St. Johns River. River life suited her perfectly as she loved boating, fishing, crabbing and painting the gorgeous sunsets. Ruth was married to Bill Stuart from 1988 until his passing in 2011. They enjoyed traveling, bird watching, cooking and made a very happy life there on the river.
Ruth enjoyed playing bridge and golf, winning many tournaments at the Palatka Golf Club. She was most proud of winning the Grandmother’s Tournament several times after becoming a grandmother in 1981. Ruth did some modeling in Memphis and later for The Fashion Shop in Palatka.
Ruth held several professional positions, including working as a secretary at Hudson Pulp & Paper, as a legal secretary at Dowda, Hedstrom & Fields and as Administrative assistant at SJRJC. She also held various positions at St. Johns River Water Management.
Ruth loved cooking for her family and friends. Her biscuits, cheese straws and smoked ham were legendary. Cooking for a big crowd of family gave her great joy. She loved her family, her dogs & her home on the beautiful St. Johns River with all her heart.
Ruth was a member of the Husson Avenue Church of Christ for most of her life in Palatka. After her marriage to Bill she became a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
She will be deeply missed by her family. Ruth was a strong and loving mother to: Gail Mickler (Rod), Ronnie Hedstrom (Cindy) and Randy Hedstrom (MaryBeth). Also, to her stepdaughters; Patty Stuart (John Simpson), Nancy Fleming (Jim) and Laura Rowland (Bob).
Ruth loved every moment she spent with her grandchildren; Jeff (Alex), Kurt (Megan), Mark (Amy), Gray, Kristin, Ethan (Emily), Jennifer (Stephen), Stuart (Kim), Bret (Maddie), Jessica (Matt), Nick (Christine).
Ruth was delighted when her great-grandchildren arrived; Caden, Avery, Sophie, Reid, Tripp, Jude, Lillian, Parker, Lucille, Elle, Charles, Jeremiah, Zeke, Yosif, Naomi and Haddie.
Ruth leaves behind many beloved nieces and nephews, including Frank Dever who moved to Florida in 1986 to be near his Aunt Ruth.
A celebration of life service will be held at a later date. If you would like to honor Ruth’s life, donations can be made in her memory to Putnam First Cancer Fund, 600 Zeagler Dr., Palatka, FL 32177 or St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, P O Box 370, Palatka, FL 32178.
Ruth’s family would like to thank Haven Hospice Roberts Care Center for their kind care in the final days of her passing.
Memories and condolences may be expressed to the family at Ruth’s Book of Memories page at .
Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.
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We love you, Debbie and Christini

Posted at 12:02pm
Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
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