Ruth Wenifred was born on November 3, 1919 to Ada and Zen Riding in Georgetown, Texas. She developed chicken pox at an early age which left her completely deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other ear. At the age of eleven, her mother sent her to the Austin Deaf and Blind Institute. Five years later, her mother died and her Aunt Nevada Gibson, affectionately known as “Aunt No” continued Ruth’s care and supervision. With hope and skills learned, Ruth thrived. She graduated from the Institute in 1938 and was accepted to Tillotson College, now Huston-Tillotson University. At Tillotson College she met Alfred Dotson, Sr. and love blossomed; they united in holy matrimony on September 9, 1939.
Upon graduating from Tillotson College, Alfred served in the Navy, and Ruth was employed by the Federal Government. In 1975, after 30 years of employment, she retired as a Supervisor at the Department of the Treasury.
Ruth accepted Jesus Christ into her life at an early age and grew up in the Methodist church in Georgetown, Texas. Ruth and Alfred moved to Washington D.C. in 1942 where they joined Rehoboth Baptist Church in Southwest D.C. Ruth had a beautiful operatic soprano voice and sang
in the Rehoboth choir. Upon returning to Austin, Ruth and Alfred joined the Ebenezer Third Baptist Church. Ruth was an active member and a past president of Martha Circle. She participated in the annual Woman’s Day Observances, faithfully serving as a chairperson and financial team captain. Ruth also served as a Deaconess and sang in the Ebenezer Sanctuary Choir.
She extended her service into the community with memberships in the Capital City Chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction and the Frederick Douglass Club from 1979 until her death. At one point, Ruth was voted the “National Top Lady of the Year.” She served as President of the Frederick Douglass Club and was instrumental in merging the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs with the Frederick Douglass Club.
Ruth loved her family and loved having them over for breakfast, lunch or dinner. While in Washington D.C she loved hosting the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. This tradition continued following their move to Austin, until her health began to fail.
God saw that her burden was heavy; her hills were too hard to climb; He closed her weary eyelids and whispered, “Peace Be Mine.” On October 5, 2018, she transitioned from her earthly home to her heavenly home.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, and her only daughter, Wenifred, who died February 28, 1991. Ruth is survived by Alfred, Sr., her faithful and dedicated husband of 79 years; two sons, Alfred, Jr. (Twylah) and Ronald, Sr. (Pat); former daughter-in-law, Jo Ann De Witty. She also leaves to mourn, five grandchildren: Ronald, Jr.; Calvin (Cindy); Daimion, Sr., Troy and Demaris. Also, to mourn: five great-grandchildren, Ronald, III, Jayla, Markette, Taelor and Damion, Jr.; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Ruth had a life well-lived and will be sorely missed by the love of her life, Alfred, Sr., her family and friends.