Dr. Ruth's Story
Dr. Ruth Beatrice Thomas was born in Ringgold, Louisiana on March 21, 1921. She graduated from Ringgold High School with high honors, and then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University, a Master of Arts degree from George Peabody College, and ultimately a Ph.D. degree in botany from Vanderbilt University. During intervals between her times in university as she earned her degrees she taught in Ringgold High School.
After earning her Ph.D., Dr. Thomas held a series of progressively more responsible university positions as an assistant professor at Millikin University in Decature, Illinois, an associate professor at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico, a guest lecturer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and ultimately as a tenured full professor in the Department of Life Sciences at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where she taught from 1963 until her retirement in 1991. During her time at Sam Houston, in addition to teaching introductory biology and advanced and post-graduate level botany courses, she was responsible for authoring and subsequent editing and updating of the lab manuals for several laboratory courses. Her research interest was in ground moss sporophytes. She was also always keenly interested in issues regarding the environment.
Dr. Thomas was the youngest of three children of Mittie Batchelor Thomas and Carey Allen Thomas of Ringgold, both of whom preceded her in death, as did her two siblings, Morris Batchelor Thomas and Gladys Eloise Thomas Allison and one nephew, Sammie Carey Thomas, all of Ringgold, Louisiana. She is survived by two nieces: Betty Estella Thomas Fletcher of Dallas, Texas, Mary Beth Thomas Turner of Benton, Louisiana, and by three nephews: Carey Clayton Allison of Sibley, Louisiana, John Thomas Allison of Ringgold, Louisiana, and David Allen Allison of Shreveport, Louisiana, along with many great- and great, great-nephews and nieces. Although Dr. Thomas never had children of her own, she always doted on and encouraged her nephews and nieces.
After her retirement from active teaching in 1991, Dr. Thomas continued to live in Huntsville, Texas privately pursuing her continuing interest in botany until 2010 when she moved to Shreveport, Louisiana to be closer to family. Dr. Thomas peacefully passed on into rest shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday, December 26, 2016. A memorial service will be held for her at 2 p.m. on Monday, January 2, 2017 at Auld's Funeral Home in Shreveport.
Published on December 30, 2016