Mary Ruth Phillips Moreland, age 85, passed away on August 16, 2018. She resided at the Westminster St. Augustine (formerly Glenmoor) Retirement Community.
Mary Ruth was born in Nashville, TN, welcomed by her parents, Emily Folk Phillips and Hilliard Deck Phillips. She spent a happy childhood in Nashville with her brother, Hilliard (Hank) Folk Phillips. She moved with her family to St. Augustine, where she graduated from Ketterlinus High School receiving “Best All Around” honors. She married her high school sweetheart, Jim, in 1950. They attended University of Florida and, mid-way through college, Mary Ruth suspended her studies to work and support Jim and their newborn baby. After Jim’s graduation, his engineering career took them to Roanoke, VA, Topsfield, MA, Pittsburgh, PA, and Youngstown, OH. After her youngest child finished college, Mary Ruth resumed her own college career. In 1985, she graduated with High Honors from Chatham University in Pittsburgh while her proud family cheered.
Mary Ruth had a strong faith and was active in churches in her communities. While living in Pittsburgh, Mary Ruth became active in mission work supported by Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church. For fifteen years, she served on a Christian mission team that traveled to the Dominican Republic. Each summer, the mission did various building and health delivery projects to support a church in Sabaneta de Yasica. She was an integral part of the team, serving as a Spanish translator for the doctors conducting health clinics, and teaching Bible school for local children. Mary Ruth worked tirelessly and joyfully to advance the mission and gained many lifelong Dominican friends.
Mary Ruth and Jim returned to Florida and enjoyed many happy years in the Marsh Landing community in Ponte Vedra Beach. She delighted in sharing their Florida home with friends and family, especially enjoying the week-long summer visits for each grandchild. They all have special memories of fishing in the backyard lagoon, going to the beach, marveling at the diverse birds and wildlife, and visiting the Alligator Farm. In 2014, Mary Ruth and Jim returned to St. Augustine and settled in their Glenmoor home.
Mary Ruth dedicated her life to helping family, friends, and strangers who became friends. She had a lifelong interest in people and their lives and was blessed with many close friends. She was a devoted and loving wife, mother and grandmother. She was married to Jim Niel Moreland for 65 years until he passed away in 2016. Her memory will be cherished by: four children, Rebecca Moreland Dugan (Tom), Deborah Moreland Russell (David), James Edward Moreland (Betsy), and David Allen Moreland (Barb); seven grandchildren, Mary Moreland Knowles (Eric), Anna Moreland Stewart (Hunter), William David Russell, Emily Rebecca Russell, Julia Elizabeth Russell, Jane Marie Moreland, Hanna Leigh Moreland; and two great-grandchildren, Mark James Knowles and Madeline Elizabeth Knowles. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother.
A Celebration of Life will be held on August 25 at 2:00 pm at the Westminster Clubhouse, 235 Towerview Drive, St. Augustine (use Call Box at gate). In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial contribution to Riverside Presbyterian Church (849 Park Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204) or a charity of your choice.