SALISBURY, Md. - Eunice Hayes Ruark, beloved mother, grandmother, church leader and educator, passed away peacefully on the early morning of July 21, 2012 at the Wicomico Nursing Home. Her family remembers her as loving, caring and kind, and her former students remember her with respect and admiration. Eunice was born on September 25, 1919 in Havana, Illinois the youngest of four sisters, and she was the daughter of Wallace and Ruth Hayes. As a child, the family moved to Memphis, Missouri where Eunice attended high school, graduating as Valedictorian of her high school class. Upon graduation from high school, Eunice attended and graduated from Northeast Missouri State University, now Harry Truman University, in Kirksville, Missouri. After graduation, Eunice taught in Missouri public schools before deciding to return to university to continue her studies. She obtained a Master's Degree of Religious Education from Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Eunice accepted a position as the Maryland Baptist Convention Women's Missionary Union Youth Director. In that position, she was instrumental in the development and construction of Camp Wo-Me-To, a camp for youth which remains in operation today. Thousands of Baptist youth have attended summer camp there since its formation. Eunice met and on October 9, 1954 married Elmer F. Ruark, who later served as the Mayor of the City of Salisbury. Several years after marrying Elmer, Eunice returned to teaching. She taught Latin, journalism and English to hundreds of students during her twenty year career, first at Wicomico Senior High School and then at Parkside High School upon its opening. Following her retirement, she continued to teach Latin at several private schools. Many of her former students became teachers, and several became professional journalists. Upon moving to Salisbury, Eunice became an active member of the Allen Memorial Baptist Church. She served in a number of leadership roles, including one of the first female Deacons in Allen Memorial history. Eunice also served as the Chairwoman of the Pastor Search Committee that recommended Dr. William Warren be called as Pastor. Dr. Warren continues to serve as Senior Pastor of Allen Memorial. For many years, she taught Sunday school at Pine Bluff Village, a role which Eunice cherished as her ministry. Eunice served the community in other civic roles, but remained committed to her Church, to her family and to teaching first.
Her husband, Elmer, passed away on December 19, 1982. She is survived by two sons, Richard F. Ruark of Salisbury and Davis R. Ruark, formerly of Parsonsburg and currently a resident of Hobbs, New Mexico. Eunice has six grandchildren, Eric Ruark of Knoxville, Maryland, Cindy Ruark of Salisbury, Lance Ruark of Salisbury, Davis Lee Ruark of Baltimore, Christian C. Ruark of Raleigh, North Carolina and Annelise G. Ruark of Parsonsburg.
A Memorial Service of Celebration will be held on Saturday, August 18 at 11 AM at the Allen Memorial Baptist Church on Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, Maryland. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Allen Memorial Baptist Church in her memory, specifically designated for the education and benefit of the youth of the community. To the very end, Eunice thoroughly enjoyed being around and with young persons. To paraphrase Eunice, she "helped keep them young." Services are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, P.A. 501 Snow Hill Road, Salisbury, MD 21804. To send condolences to the family, please visit Holloway Funeral Home's website.