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Deacon and Ruth Wyrick.
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Ruth Wyrick was a living definition of service to church and community

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Tucked away in the nostalgic memories of my childhood are church homecomings of the 1980s and ’90s. When I close my eyes, I can feel the waving of funeral fans seeking relief from the Texas heat. I can vividly hear, “That’s the one,” before every choir begins its song. I can smell the fried chicken predestined for Styrofoam plates.

And I can see Ruth Wyrick.

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She’d be strategically seated at a fold-out table near the auditorium, which ensured that you saw her and she saw you. Ruth would then proceed to educate us about which candidate she supported and the importance of voting.

Well before the noise of the internet and myriad of political commentators, Ruth introduced generations to the true definition of servitude in the church and her community.

Ruth Wyrick

Ruth Wyrick

Dr. Ruth Laverne Wells Wyrick went home to be with the Lord on April 14, 2023, at 88.

After graduating from Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas, Ruth relocated to Dallas, where she met and married fellow alum Ernest “Deacon” Wyrick. They were married for 59 years before his transition in 2020. They had two children, Narleski and Natesha (Shay) and were the proud grandparents to five grandsons and one great-grandson.

Ruth and Deacon were faithful members of Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ in Dallas, and Ruth supported her husband in his work as a deacon, elder and focus leader.

Ruth’s daughter, Shay, said, “She took her role as a godly wife very seriously. Her only brother (Dr. R.C. Wells) was a preacher, and he began preaching as a preteen. She knew the Bible backward and forward and loved the fellowship of the saints.”

Ruth was the chief fundraiser for Southwestern, having raised approximately $1.5 million for the college in the last 25 years. In 2012 she was awarded a doctorate of humane letters for her service.

Ruth was actively involved in the community as well as local and state politics. She worked on many historical local campaigns and helped to elevate the political activity of members of the church.

Shay added, “If candidates could get Ruth Wyrick’s endorsement, they likely got the Dallas Black Churches of Christ.”

She served as a Democratic precinct chair for 50 years and a Dallas County election judge for every municipal, state and partisan election in South Oak Cliff through 2021.

When asked what political cause she would consider the most important to Ruth, Shay responded, “Representation of the people mattered. She worked with redistricting committees on all levels to make sure our community had our representation of choice. Once the maps were drawn to give our community our own voice, she worked to elect the person who would speak for us.”

Ruth was proud to be appointed to the City of Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. Board by councilman Al Lipscomb and was appointed as chair of the MLK Board by Ron Kirk, the first Black mayor of Dallas.

I asked Shay how she would like her mother to be remembered.

“For her love of family, the church and Southwestern,” she said. “And for her voting influence.”

TANEISE PERRY is a member of The Christian Chronicle’s board of trustees. She worships with the Kingdom Church of Christ in Charlotte, N.C. She is owner of The Church Pew, an online faith apparel store.

Filed under: black churches Deacon Wyrick Features Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ memorial Milestones Obituaries obituary People R.C. Wells Ruth Wyrick Southwestern Christian College Top Stories

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