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In Memory Of Our Poets

Ruth Hill Cook (McLemore) - Class Of 1947

Ruth Hill Cook McLemore, a life-long resident of Montgomery, Alabama, died on November 5, 2018, after a recent illness. She was 89.

Following a family graveside service, a memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm Thursday, November 8, St. John's Episcopal Church. Her family will receive friends in the church parish hall one hour before the service.

Ruth McLemore was part of a McLemore clan who for 200 years has lived and farmed the area of Mitylene. Her husband of 59 years, William Henry McLemore, predeceased her in 2011.

Friends since Sidney Lanier High School, Billy and Ruth married upon graduating from college. After his Army tour, they moved to Mitylene beside a cotton field into a hand-me-down place built from plans in a farm magazine. She straddled farm and city to raise a family. Tackling tractor grease in the clothes wash and children lost down country dirt roads, she would then head for town and rule over a tennis court.

Ruth attended Cloverdale School, Sidney Lanier High School, and Stephens College, before graduating from Huntingdon College. She embraced the literary arts, shown by the piles of well-read books spread across the house.

Many swore she was the best cook in Montgomery. Her kitchen, where garden and wildfowl came from the backyard, was never at rest. She was often there, improving old recipes, welcoming their many friends, and tending the dogs. Always there were the dogs. And the good conversation, an art she honed on the front porches of long-ago generations.

She was an ancestral granddaughter of Henry Hill and his wife Elizabeth McCulloch, Irish immigrants who landed in Mt. Meigs among the "First Wave" of immigrants to America. Their great-granddaughter Ruth Hill married Clarence Cook of Lapine, parents to Ruth and her late brother, Clarence Cook, Jr. Her brother's children survive her, Penn Cook and Lovelace Cook.

Ruth is also survived by her four children, Bill McLemore (Marianne), Laura McLemore Thames (Johnny), Jimmy McLemore (Laura), Sam McLemore (Nadine); eight grandchildren, William McLemore, III (Meredith), Elizabeth McLemore Baker (Keith), Catherine Thames, Ann Thames Chambliss (Chase), James McLemore, Jr., John Patrick McLemore (Emily), Bonner McLemore, Clark McLemore (Helen); and six great-grandchildren, Eliza McLemore, Vivienne Ruth McLemore, Laura Elizabeth Baker, Sawyer Chambliss, Olen Chambliss, and Violet Jones.

The family is grateful for Deborah Lewis and Mary Sanders, whose assistance allowed Ruth to continue in her and Billy's home in Mitylene, which they loved.

Memorials may be made to:

  • Mary Oliver McLemore Scholarship Fund
    St. John's Episcopal Church
    113 Madison Avenue
    Montgomery AL
  • Or a charity of your preference.

Published in the Montgomery Advertiser from November 7 to November 8, 2018.