Ruth Renfro Cross

June 5, 1918May 19, 2020

Visitation will be held at Lloyd James Funeral Home for Ruth Renfro Cross from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Friday, May 22, 2020. Ruth passed away on May 19 at Park Place Nursing Home, 17 days shy of her 102nd birthday.

She was born in Henderson, Rusk County on June 5, 1918 to Luther Paul Renfro and Forrest Annie Harvey Renfro. She grew up in Rusk and Smith Counties with her 7 siblings: Cavie, Madress, Jean, Grover, Louise, Ferris and Albert. She attended school at Gaston, and when she was in the third grade, the family came to the Chapel Hill area in a horse drawn wagon.

She attended Bascom School and graduated from Tyler High School. She married F. H. Massey in 1935 and they had a daughter, Bobbie. Three years after his death, she and Bobbie were joined in marriage to E. L. Cross. Two sons, Newt and Jerry were born to complete the family.

The family settled in Chapel Hill and Ruth's life as a mother and community leader began. She opened her cafe in 1951 and served countless hamburgers to school kids and countless meals to residents and friends. Ruth was a part of the growth of the Chapel Hill community and a founding member of the Chapel Hill Volunteer Fire Department.

She saw the first Chapel Hill school built and was there when the great live oak tree that stands in front of the school was planted. The Chapel Hill PTA, 4-H Club and the Future Farmers of America have honored her with lifetime memberships. In 1979, she was nominated as "Outstanding Older Texan of Smith County" by the Governor's Council on Aging.

During her active community days, Ruth made many, many friends and loved them everyone. She is survived by brother, Albert Renfro and wife Ann; daughter, Bobbie Tate; son, Newt Cross and wife Pam; son, Jerry Cross and wife Linda; grandchildren Thad Tate and wife Linda, Jim Cross and wife Pam, Jeff Cross, Christy Conte and husband Wayne, Amber Payne and husband Ryan, Michele Arthur and husband Daniel, Suzanne Shelton, Kelly Cross and wife Shelley. She has 19 great grandchildren, 12 great-great grandchildren, 2 great-great-great grandchildren and scores of nieces and nephews.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, first husband, F. H. Massey and husband, E. L. Cross, siblings Paul Renfro, Cavie Renfro, Madress Mitchell, Jean Sanders, Grover Renfro, Ferris Renfro, Louise Griffin, son-in-law, Otis Tate and grandson, Trent Tate.

The family will have a private funeral at the gravesite.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Williams Cemetery Association, Chapel Hill Volunteer Fire Department or Heart to Heart Hospice.

The family would like to extend their deepest appreciation to Ruth's caregivers Mary, Carol, Colleen and Regina and to the staff of Park Place Nursing Home for their loving care and devotion.


  • Visitation

    Friday, May 22, 2020


Ruth Renfro Cross

have a memory or condolence to add?

Preston Sides

May 27, 2020

To Newt and Jerry: My friends, your Mom was a dear person who is part of my memories of growing up near Chapel Hill. She was a true asset to the community, a friend to everyone, patient and caring for all us rowdy teenagers who frequented her business. Having spent countless hours there I always felt safe and at home. Ruth Cross was a shining example of parenthood, for her children and those of every other family that passed through Chapel Hill School. I join you in grieving her passing. May God bring you peace and joy for all the years you had her with you.

kenny ray

May 25, 2020

A lot of great food and love and memories. What a great lady. People like her made CHS and community such a special place.........leaving that old wooden gym and walking over to Cross's cafe....or the football

JAN Everett Betts

May 25, 2020

Ms Cross was absolutely the best memories from CHS - she cared about everyone but would give us the look if she needed to - music from the jute box, smell those burgers 🍔 through the windows of our classrooms daily -
We didn’t have A/C back then -
She made mine special because my Mom request it - less calorie version - She loved us and we all respected her - still can see her in the kitchen from the side door - cooking burgers and smiling with sweat dripping from chin - 💗

Andrea Brown

May 23, 2020

I remember eating at her cafe when I was a child. She touched the lives of so many people in the Chapel Hill community. My condolences and prayers to her family.

Delane Davis

May 23, 2020

She was one of my favorite customers at the Arp State Bank. Such a great person.❤️

Cynthia Johnson nee Mosher

May 23, 2020

My first job was washing dishes at Cross's cafe when I was 12 years old. Mrs. Cross was a wonderful, hardworking person and a great role model for me. And her pies were the best in the world! I'm certain her place in heaven is assured. RIP

Claria Lovely

May 23, 2020

It was a honor and a privilege to take care of Mrs Cross at Park Place Nursing home for many years.. And listen too her many stories about her life may she rest in peace.. Claria Lovely

Patty Morgan (Shipley)

May 22, 2020

I loved going to Cross’s Cafe during lunch and after school . It was a great to hang out with friends. Later after graduation, I works in the building when Delio’s first opens their pizza shop there. Robie and I even stopped by on our way home to change after our wedding. That place has so many fond memories and the best one was Mrs. Cross being there for all of us!

Rest In Peace sweet lady, you will be missed by so many of us CHS alumni!

Patty Shipley Morgan
CHS Class of 1976

Linda Daughtry Farrell

May 22, 2020

Mrs Cross was a beautiful lady inside and out.Loved eating at the cafe and talking with her.She will be greatly missed.She was four doors down the hall from my sister at Park Place.
Linda Daughtry Farrell

Keith Barnes

May 22, 2020

At the age of 12 I road my bike to Mrs Cross' cafe every Saturday to work for her. $2.00 a day and a free lunch. A memory she placed in my mind that will last my lifetime was her love for her fellow man. At the age of 12 and not knowing of the racial divide in this country, I learned a lesson that will never leave me. Answering a knock at the back door stood a very old black man and his wife sat in the truck. He asked her if they were able to get something to eat there. Her words I'll never forget . She told him" I'm more than happy to serve you and your family but it will not be at my back door. She asked them to come inside which they did and we took care of them.. I think she was truly a loving lady that will surely be missed and never forgotten by those who knew her

Learn more about the Cross name