On November 1, 2018 Walter Carroll Ruth Sr., 81, of Severn, MD passed away. Walter was born on December 24, 1936 in Page, WV to Thomas Ruth, Sr. and Geneva Ruth. Walter was the fourth child born of eight brothers and one sister. Walter was a graduate of Page High School, WV. He played trumpet in the school band and was also fond of playing basketball. Following graduation, Walter enlisted into the United States Army on December 30, 1953.
In January of 1954, after basic training, he was invited to the home of his friend Richard Wilkerson, and unbeknownst to him at the time, future brother-in-law. Richard introduced Walter to his sister Dorothy. On February 2, 1957, Walter (20) and Dorothy Mae Wilkerson (19) of Doswell, VA were united in holy matrimony. Together, they raised 8 children; Dennis Eugene (deceased), Earl Donnell, Barbara Jean, Stephanie Denise, Walter Carroll. Jr., Latonya Yvette, Anthony Dwayne, and Rodney Darrell.
Walter served with distinction in a variety of Military Occupational Specialties to include; Medical Records Clerk (71G), Clerk Typist (71B), Bandsman (021), and Medical Supply (767). Walter completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC on January 9, 1954 and his Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Lee, VA. His duty assignments included: Korea (1954 – 1955), Fort Rucker, AL (1955-1958), Germany (1958 – 1960), Fort Ord, CA (1960 – 1963), Vietnam (1964 – 1965), Fort Belvoir, VA (1965 – 1967), Vietnam (1967 – 1968), and served his final duty station at Fort George G. Meade, MD (1968 – 1974).
Walter’s military awards included; Bronze Star Medal w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters, 5 Overseas Service Ribbons, Good Conduct Medal w/Bronze Clasp, Meritorious Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device, Vietnam Service Medal, Armed Services Expeditionary Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Korean Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal w/Oak Leaf Cluster. He was discharged from the U.S. Army on June 30, 1974 following a distinguished career of 20 years, 6 months, and 1 day.
Walter earned his Associate of Arts Degree from Catonsville Community College in 1976. He applied for employment and was accepted by The Maryland Department of Corrections at Patuxent Institution located in Jessup, MD as a correctional officer. During his tenure at Patuxent, he worked 2 years at the Jennifer Road Detention Center. Walter served for 18 years (July 3, 1974 – May 1, 1992), at the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and retiring as a Captain.
Walter was a dedicated family man. He loved his family as Christ loved the church. Family was his passion. He was a great husband, father and protector. Walter faithfully attended The Church at Severn Run where he became a member on June 5, 2005. He was baptized by immersion on November 6, 2006. Walter was a people person, very genuine, what you see is what you get. Walter’s life epitomized the adage, “I will give you a safe place to cry and never a reason to go there.” The Ruth home was a safe refuge for family, friends, and at times strangers. He was well respected and an encourager to all.
In the rare times Walter was not working he could be found playing cards, bowling, enjoying a friendly game of baseball with the kids, or socializing with his friends. He drove big cars like all of the Ruth boys, but Walter had no choice having 8 kids. Some of our fondest memories are of him dancing with Dorothy. He loved music and singing bass with his brothers. Walter could often be heard saying to one of his children when caught trying to misrepresent a truth to him, “Don’t you know I’m the smartest man in the world.” He casually referred to some of the kids as “Joker” and every girl that entered the house would be reminded by him of their intrinsic value with the words, “You’re the prettiest girl in the world.”
In June of 1974 all of Walter’s medical skills were brought to bear when his daughter Latonya stopped breathing following a freak accident at home. His ability to remain calm and execute the skills gained through his military service in Vietnam as a combat medic allowed him to bring her back to life and render aid until she could be medevacked to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.
In the years prior to his death Alzheimer’s stole from him some precious memories, but not all. The Monday before Walter passed he and Dorothy were riding home from the credit union and he was singing, “I Am A Child of God.” There were a lot of things he forgot…God was never one of them.
Walter will be missed by all who knew him. He was preceded in death by his oldest son, Dennis Eugene Ruth, his father Thomas Ruth, Sr. and his mother Geneva Ruth. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Mae Ruth (Wilkerson), 8 children; son Earl Donnell Wilkerson, daughter Barbara Jean Martin (Ruth) and husband Chris, daughter Stephanie Denise Ruth, son Walter Carroll Ruth Jr. and wife Florinda, daughter Latonya Yvette Ruth, son Anthony Dwayne Ruth and wife Kim, and son Rodney Darrell Ruth and wife Michelle. He is preceded in death by his brothers Thomas Howard Ruth Jr, James Early Ruth, Leo J. Ruth, and Melvin Hiawatha Ruth. He is survived by his sister Viola Angela Huff and husband Charles, brother Delanie Dupree Ruth and wife Laverne, brother Lloyd Marion Ruth and wife Toni, and Billy Gene Ruth and wife Betty Louise; brother-in-law Richard Thomas Wilkerson and sister-in-law Patricia Ann Wilkerson; 27 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren; and a host of nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, great-great-nieces and nephews, cousins, and devoted friends.