Reflections of Life
Ruth Perry, affectionately known as Ms. Perry or Ruthie, was the last child of eleven siblings born to the late Almore (“Almo”) and Emma Williams. She came into this world on April 8, 1937 in Wise, North Carolina.
Ruth slipped away peacefully on Thursday morning, April 20, 2023, at 3:33 a.m., at her home in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. With her family by her bedside, surrounded by their love, she closed her eyes to this world and opened her eyes in heaven. She was 86 years old.
Ruth attended Warrenton County Training School in Wise, NC and Lakewood High School in Lakewood, NJ. At the tender age of 12, Ruth and her sister, Candace, took care of their mother. Two years later, upon their mother’s passing, they moved to Red Bank, NJ, to live with family. At the age of 16 she then moved to Lakehurst, NJ, and became a foster child to the late Pastor Robert and Mamie Robertson. She was the oldest of 104 foster children.
Ruth had a kind, loving spirit and deep love and commitment for her family. She was more than a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she was our friend, nurturer, teacher, cheerleader, confidant, consoler, and prayer warrior. Mom had many positive attributes, but most importantly, she prayed for us daily and loved us unconditional. She believed in us, even when we didn't believe in ourselves. She always saw the good in everyone and encouraged her children to do the same.
Ruth married Dorsey Perry at the age of 19, and moved back to Red Bank, NJ in July of 1956 and a year later moved to Perth Amboy, NJ. They had eight loving children: Barbara, Sheila, Diane, Dorsey Jr, Sandy, Stephanie, Eddie and Betty. She took care of all her children without government assistance. We remember Mom making a big pot of potato soup with just 5 potatoes to feed us and our friends. We didn't know this then, but found out years later, that Mom often went without eating so there would be enough food for us.
Ruth joined Gordon Hill Baptist Church in Oak Grove, NC, and was baptized at 12 years old in a lake behind the church. She later got baptized again at the Holy Land Experience in 2018 with her girls. She joined Pilgrim Baptist Church in Red Bank, NJ in 1956, and upon moving to Perth Amboy she joined Second Baptist Church (now The Cathedral International), where the Reverend Herbert Martin was Pastor. She served as an usher and a kitchenette. She remained a faithful member under the leadership of Senior Pastor, Bishop Donald Hilliard, Jr. until her passing.
Ruth loved God with all her heart, and she reared her children in the Lord. She made sure we went to Sunday School and Church every week. Even when she couldn’t attend, she made sure we got on the church bus. When it came to prayer, she often wrote them in a notebook. She started this while working at the hospital with a one-on-one patient. She said that since she couldn’t pray out loud, she found it comforting to write them down. So, if you see a notepad in her home, you would often find her prayers written (and spoken) to God, with the date, of course, to confirm when her prayers were answered. When Mom’s bedroom door was closed, she was either praying or sleeping. Stephanie joined her in prayer, every night, as her body got frail, and her memory declined.
Ruth held many jobs to ensure the wellbeing of her children - sometimes working three jobs at one time. She picked tobacco and cotton in Wise, NC; picked blueberries in Lakehurst, NJ; was a dishwasher at a drug store in Toms River, NJ; made army duffle bags in Red Bank, NJ; and was a teacher’s aide in Sewaren, NJ. She also ironed clothes in her home for an extra flow of income. Ruth spent 40+ years at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, NJ, where she started in the laundry department folding sheets until 1963, and then returned after giving birth to her twins in 1964. She spent the remaining 37 years as a Patient Care Assistant and a Home Health Aide. She worked over 30 years in Labor & Delivery and the Maternity Department, before becoming an EKG technician and a “floater” where she worked throughout the hospital, wherever she was needed most. She held, fed, bathe, and burped thousands of babies, and has had the opportunity to see many of them raise their own children. Before retiring on May 1, 2001, she received the Raritan Bay Medical Center Bob Hoyt Memorial Award in 2000, for her loyalty, devotion, warmth, friendliness, compassion, and selfless concern for patients, visitors, and fellow employees. It is the highest hospital award, which only one employee is given the honor of receiving it yearly. Her name will forever remain on the Bob Hoyt Memorial Award wall in the hospital.
Ruth, throughout her younger years, became well-known as one of the famed hairdressers in Perth Amboy, NJ - only charging $1.00 for straightening and $1.00 for curls, so she could have extra funds to put food on the table. We’ll always remember her “perfect” hairdos. It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was; she never had a strand out of place.
Ruth was also intrusively inquisitive, in other words, “very nosy”. Her neighbors didn’t know this, but she was the “neighborhood watch” person because she could tell you, who was or wasn’t home, what time they left, when they came back, and what they were wearing. She also helped put her own obituary together because she wanted to be the first to see it (smile). Her laugh always put a smile on your face. Even during her challenge with Parkinson’s Disease, she always found a way to encourage you. She has forever touched the lives of those whom she encountered with her warm and quiet spirit, unwavering and unconditional love, and her kind nurturing heart.
Ruth had a love for seashells, elephants, plants, and flowers. There was a seashell and elephant in every room in the house, even the bathroom and closets. She had a garden in the backyard, plants in the front and back hallway and the attic. Though she didn’t plant peaches, she made sure she had some in the house. If you mentioned peach cobbler was in your house, she’d make her way to the kitchen and ask if there was any vanilla ice cream - if not, she’d send someone to the store to get some. She was also famed for her sweet potato pie. When she reached her golden years, she would have each child make a pie for Thanksgiving and she would pick the winner of whose pie looked and tasted closest to hers. Of course, every child won because she never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Ruth also loved to travel. God blessed her with the opportunity to travel to Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, France, England, Korea, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Bermuda, Hawaii and various places in the U.S.
Ruth was predeceased by her husband Dorsey Perry, her parents and foster parents; one son, Sandy Perry; four brothers, Ernest, James, Luke and John Williams; and six sisters, Sarah Williams, Myrtice Williams, Lucy Williams, Mary Moore, Geneva McClendon, and Candace Williams.
Ruth leaves to cherish so many wonderful memories to her five daughters; Barbara (Timothy) Artis of Atlantic City, NJ, Sheila Perry of Perth Amboy, NJ; Diane Traeye of Keasbey, NJ; Stephanie (Alonzo) Randolph of Perth Amboy, NJ; Betty Perry of Perth Amboy, NJ; and two sons, Dorsey Perry Jr. of Newark, DE; and Eddie (Ihesia) Perry of Farmingdale, NJ.
Fifteen grandchildren, Terrell Williams of Avenel, NJ; Roman Traeye of Old Bridge, NJ; Chaunte Traeye of Bensalem, PA, Shaun (Jillian) Artis of Brick, NJ; Sondra Perry of Newark, NJ; Sandy (Erin) Perry of Staten Island, NY; Lovely (Woodrow) Danjou of Auburn, AL; Eaven Lester of Matawan, NJ; Ashley Allen, Aniya, Elijah & Joshua Perry all of Farmingdale, NJ.
Seventeen great grandchildren, Sharina Williams of Keyport, NJ, Tamia & Ayiana Williams of Cliffwood Beach, NJ; Qasim Traeye of Poconos, PA; Kyaisha Traeye Wooten of Keasbey, NJ; Keina McCutchen of Union, NJ; Dialla Traeye of Bensalem, PA; Sincere Perry & Noah Danjou of Auburn, AL; Tillie Perry, Talei Bacot & Ezra Lowe of Farmingdale, NJ; Trey and Kory Artis of Brick, NJ; Kennedy Perry of Staten Island, NY; and Kyeloni & Kyeshaun Sylvester of Matawan, NJ.
One sister-in-law; Evelyn Perry of Washington, NJ; two godchildren, Lorenzo Hall of Perth Amboy, NJ and Pastor Ambrosine Simmon-Daniel of Bronx, NY; plus, a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends.
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