Ella Ruth Merritt, 95 of Fairfield, IL, passed away Saturday July 13, 2019 at Centralia Manor surrounded by the love of her family. She was born July 14, 1923 in Burnt Prairie, IL, the daughter of John and Mary (Reed) Stewart and the eldest of ten siblings. She attended Fairfield Community High School and went to cosmetology school where she then owned and operated her own beauty salon. Ruth and Carl Merritt were married November 20, 1941 in St. Charles, MO.
She was a charter member of the North Side Baptist Church of Fairfield where she was involved in the WMU organization and taught Sunday School until the age of 91. Ruth was known for her love for Jesus Christ and her family. She left a legacy of compassion, integrity and unity. Her involvement with the community was exemplary. She was an active volunteer involved with Fairfield Memorial Hospital Auxiliary for twenty years, the Clothes Line where she served on the board of directors, she was an election judge, and a member of the Red Hat Society. Ruth’s many hobbies included being surrounded by loved ones and family members, quilting, gardening, maintaining her beautiful flower beds and reading.
Ruth will be remembered by her daughter Leona West and husband Bernard of Centralia, son Gary Merritt and wife Mandy of Katy, Texas and former daughter-in-law Vicki Lee and husband Gary. Grandchildren Carla Rogers and husband Dennis, Sherri Johnson and husband Ken, Brad West and wife Kristien, Tim Merritt, Monica Vaca and husband Wadih El Hajj, Jessica Vaca, Nina Vaca and husband James Humrichouse, Freddy Vaca and wife Lindy and Christian Vaca. Great Grandchildren – Paige Hossler, Crystal Gregg and husband Aaron, Stephan Johnson, Logan Vaile and husband Brent, Kale and Aden Johnson, Olivia and Alana Bierman, Kyler West, Carly Merritt, Pamela Cass and husband Brian, Adrian, Nicholas and Carlos C. Narvaez, Amanda, Katarina, Peter and Jimmy Humrichouse, Bella, Sofia, Mckenzie and Alexis Vaca. Six great great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Siblings – Reba Tibbs of Grayville, Kay Hillegeist of Fairfield, Lou Gouch and husband Bill of Murphysboro, Lea Doty and husband Leo of Fairfield, Bob Stewart of Fairfield, and sister-in-law Elvira Stewart-Haile of Wayne City.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Carl Merritt, parents, John and Mary Stewart, two brothers, John and Tom Stewart and two sisters, Augusta Stewart and Reta Hill.
Services for Ruth will be held Friday, July 19th at 11am at North Side Baptist Church in Fairfield. Interment will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery. A visitation will be held Thursday evening, July 18th, 5pm to 8pm at Nale’s Funeral Home In Fairfield who are in charge of the arrangements. Memorials can be made to North Side Baptist Church and will be accepted at the funeral home or the church. Online condolences to the family may be made at www.nalesfuneralhome.com.