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Rev. Leander W. (Billy) Ruth Jr.

Rev. Leander W. (Billy) Ruth Jr.

Heaven welcomed a soldier of the cross home on March 19th! He fought a good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith. Rev. Leander W. (Billy) Ruth Jr. faithfully served as a minister and pastor for over 50 years in both North and South Carolina.

He had been pastor of Community Bible Church in the Upward Community of Henderson County for the past 30 years. He served his country in the US Air Force and was honorably discharged in 1957 as Airman First Class. He often wove comparative illustrations of a warrior in God's Army with that of military personnel in our armed services.

His favorite comment when things were getting tough was "Praise the Lord, the Devil is a loser anyway" and we fully expect that he shouted that as he crossed over.

He was a direct descendant of the nation's first Surgeon General under George Washington: Dr. William Rickman. Dr. Rickman was the father of Jesse Rickman, a Revolutionary War hero and one of the early fore-fathers of many families in Mills River and surrounding areas.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 55 years: Dicy McCraw Ruth; his parents Leander W. Ruth Sr. and Addie Bishop Ruth, his baby sister Nellie Ruth, and his step mother Jane Drake Ruth.

He is survived by his son Clifford Ruth and daughter Lavonna Ruth both of Flat Rock; three sisters Virginia Ruth Davis of Mills River, Rebecca Ruth Knight of Dallas TX, Carol Ruth Faulkner of High Point and a step brother James Drake of Suwanee, GA; two aunts, Sarah Ducker of Mills River and Luna Souther of Fletcher; and an uncle, Daniel (Buddy) Mehaffey of Edneyville. In addition he is survived by two special nieces that he consider his "granddaughters"; Katlyn McCraw and Allison Pressley. They always called him "Boppy", a name that stuck with him and was used by other family members.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at Upward Kelly Memorial (Holiness Baptist) Church on Upward Road. Burial will follow in the Jones Family Cemetery with military rites conducted by the Henderson County Honor Guard. Visitation will be for 2 hours prior to the service. At other times family and friends are meeting at the home of daughter Lavonna 50 Ivy Bluff Drive, Flat Rock.

In honor of his ministry donations may be made to the Gideons International to provide bibles to the world. The local address is: Hendersonville Camp, PO Box 6284, Hendersonville, NC 28793.

Condolence cards may be sent to the family at or to PO Box 945, Hendersonville, NC 28793.