Ruth Augusta Nelson Badgett Smith of Riverhead died June 2 at the age of 85.
She was born April 4, 1928, to Harry and Eunice Bess Nelson and attended Riverhead schools. While in high school, she was very active in clubs and a member of the basketball team. Following graduation, she became an apprentice to Rose Booker, learning a career as a beautician. She married her first husband, William Adam Badgett of Great Neck, on March 14, 1950. After Mr. Badgett’s death in 1972, she married James W. Smith Sr. in 1975.
From 1952 to 2007, Ms. Smith owned and operated Ruthie’s Beauty Shop in Riverhead. Family members said she had an “unflappable work ethic” and was dedicated to serving others. She was a lifelong member of Goodwill AME Zion Church, where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday school and served on the Steward Board. She also served as a member of the Woman’s Home and Overseas Missionary Society. Frequently, she would donate time to Seay Memorial Chapel.
Ms. Smith cared deeply for her family, and raised or trained many of her nieces and nephews to work in her profession. She believed it was important for women to be educated and empowered and, according to family members, frequently said, “Educate a woman and you educate a family.” She spent time visiting the elderly and also enjoyed bike riding and exercising.
Predeceased by her husband in 2010, Ms. Smith is survived by her son, David Badgett; two sisters, Gladys Baskin and Mary Darden; a brother, the Rev. Kenneth Nelson; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral service took place June 6 at Shinnecock Presbyterian Church in Southampton, the Rev. Michael Smith officiating. Arrangements were handled by Seay Memorial Chapel in Riverhead.
Memorial donations may be made to the American Lyme Disease Foundation, P.O. Box 466, Lyme, CT 06371.