Ruth E. Williams, gardener and homemaker, dies

Ruth Edna "Billie" Williams was a homemaker and gardener.

Ruth Edna "Billie" Williams, a homemaker and gardener, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 2 at the Blakehurst Retirement Community. She was 98 and had lived in Cedarcroft for many years.

Born and raised in Frederick, she was the daughter of Dr. William Meredith Smith, a general practioner, and his wife, Ruth Edna. She was a 1936 graduate of St. John's High School and earned a bachelor's degree at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She was also a graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.


She met her husband, Harold A. Williams Jr., at a picnic in Frederick.

"After attempting a backhand swing in a game of tennis with him, she fell and bruised her knee. He carried her to her house and announced, 'I have met the perfect girl except for the bruised knee,'" said her daughter, Sara Cherner of Potomac.


Mrs. Williams enjoyed sewing and made many of her daughters' clothes.

"Her signature style for us was a simple corduroy jumper with a button in the back," said her daughter.

She received awards for flower arranging from the Little Garden Club of Baltimore, where she was a member. She was also a volunteer at The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen's library.

"She was a reader of British mysteries, and she would often stay up half the night reading," said her daughter.

Family members said she read the mysteries of P.D. James, Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell and Dorothy L. Sayers. She also solved crossword puzzles.

Mrs. Williams donated her body to the Maryland Anatomy Board.

A life celebration will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Blakehurst Retirement Community, 1055 W. Joppa Road in Towson.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include three other daughters, Anne Gibson of Owings Mills, Mary Helen Williams of Brunswick, Maine, and Julie Bruggman of Lutherville; two brothers, Clarence Smith of Frederick and William Smith of Baltimore; a sister, Anne Fisher of Frederick; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandsons. Her husband of 60 years, a Baltimore Sun editor, died in 2002.