Ruth Harrill Middleton

November 21, 1928February 6, 2019

Ruth Harrill Middleton, 90, of Charlotte, passed away February 6, 2019, with her family by her side. She was born November 21, 1928, the only child of Pauline and William Harrill of Rutherfordton, NC. Ruth earned a B.A. in Christian Education from Greensboro College in 1949, and a teaching certificate from Appalachian State University in 1951.

Ruth lived in Cheraw, SC from 1958 until 2018, when she moved to Charlotte to be closer to her family. She is survived by her sons, Bill Middleton of Philadelphia, PA, and Joe (Lee Ann) Middleton and Jon Middleton, both of Charlotte. She is also survived by her grandson, Jordan Middleton; her nieces, Rosalyn Kerins and Babs Odom; nephew, Mike Barlowe; and cousins, Laura and Bob Gobble. Ruth was predeceased by her former husband, William H. Middleton, Jr. in 2000.

Ruth was a natural educator. She started her teaching career in Caldwell County in 1952, and six years later, began teaching English at Wallace (SC) High School. In 1970, she moved to Cheraw High School where she taught British Literature, creative writing, and semantics until her retirement in 1990. She loved teaching and was dearly loved by her students.

Ruth was an accomplished musician, a voracious reader, and a devoted animal lover. She passed on her love of music, books and animals, as well as her sometimes stubborn demeanor, to her sons. She was fiercely independent and lived life on her own terms. Her joy was to do whatever she could to create stability in the lives of her children. She sang her life’s song lovingly, thoughtfully, fearlessly, and always with perfect pitch. Many years ago, she worked the sentiment “Without music, life would be a mistake” into a cross-stitch. Her sons are immensely grateful she shared her music with them.

A celebration of her life will take place Saturday, February 16, 2019, at 2:00 pm at First United Methodist Church, Cheraw, SC. Lunch in the church fellowship hall will follow the service.

If you would like to honor Ruth, please consider a contribution to Chesterfield (SC) County Animal Services or to First United Methodist Church, Cheraw.


  • Chesterfield, SC County Animal Services
  • First United Methodist Church


  • Celebration of Ruth's Life Saturday, February 16, 2019

Ruth Harrill Middleton

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jamie Strickland

February 11, 2019


I have never heard as many fond remembrances and heartfelt gratitude spoken by a son toward his mother as I have heard from you over the years about Miss Ruth. I am so sorry for your loss and want you to know what a treasure you are in my life and the lives of all who love you. Cathy and I send our love to you and your family as you navigate this challenging time.

Gloria Leviner

February 10, 2019

Ms Middleton taught me and my husband at Wallace High School. She was the absolute best English teacher. Through the years we remained friends and enjoyed reminiscing about the "good old days" at Wallace. Heartfelt prayers to all her family and friends. Love you Ms Middleton

Rosalyn Kerins

February 10, 2019

As a child, I wanted to be wherever my Aunt Ruth was.
She was my favorite aunt, she bought me my first two piece bathing suit ( at BC Moore’s)
She championed and encouraged my eccentricities many others viewed as shortcomings .
She was intelligent, unconventional, beautiful, fancy & wise , with a wicked wonderful sense of humor and point of view .
She was an enduring positive influence in my life , like the best secret ever , whispered into my ear ♥️
I will forever cherish my memories of her .
I will surely miss her .

Thomas Im

February 10, 2019

Our deepest condolences, Jon, to you and your family. Although, we never met your Momma, you always spoke of her with such love and affection, even when she made you crazy, as only a beloved family member can do. She was so lucky to have you and your brothers to take care of her and make her safe and comfortable in her final years. Our thoughts are with you and our prayers are with her as she takes her good and rightful place with the Lord.
Tom I. and Mike L

Julia LaVene

February 10, 2019

I met Miss Ruth in December of 2018 when I moved my Dad into the same Assisted Living Facility. With only 5 days to find my Dad a place, I relied on my dear friend Jon Middleton to share his experience with me. My Dad was transferred from the hospital so I had to set up his room. I was all alone. Miss Ruth was there every day to lend me her ear and support. She kept me focused on the task at hand. I will always remember her loving words during the toughest days of my life. Miss Ruth welcomed my Dad at her table where they shared meals everyday. In fact, just hours before my Dad had a stroke, he and Miss Ruth were sitting at a table leading a focus group on how they were going to come up with more ideas for their menu. I hope you like New Orleans cuisine, Miss Ruth, Dad and Mom have a place setting waiting for you with Red Beans and Rice and Sweet Tea.

Dawn Wallace

February 9, 2019

Ruth was my wonderful friend and client for 30 years! She taught me so much about life and was a big influence on both of my children. She always remember not only my birthday and the children as well. And if the both had good grades she always gave them a reward and always praised them. She sang at both of my kids christenings . At 11 o’clock on Fridays will never be the same. She was a jewel! You will never be forgotten! And it’s not goodbye it’s I see you later!