Gardening 07

Ruth Randolph Atkins

January 18, 1922 ~ May 10, 2020 (age 98)


On Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020, Ruth Randolph Atkins, 98, of Sutton, W.Va., quietly passed away at Braxton Health Care Center.

Born in Sutton on Jan. 18, 1922, Ruth was the oldest daughter and second child of Mary Juergens Randolph and Brady Fitz Randolph. Her older brother, Dr. Brady Fitz Randolph Jr., sisters Mary Ellen Randolph Shank, Alma Jean Randolph Weitzel and Wilma June Randolph Lyon, husband Francis Asbury Atkins and daughter-in-law Cheryl Clayton Atkins preceded her in death. 

Ruth lived her entire life on Sutton's North Baxter Street. She graduated with honors from Sutton High School in 1939 and worked for C&P Telephone Co. as an operator. In 1945, Ruth married Frank Atkins, upon his return from Europe after World War II. They raised their four sons in a home adjacent to her childhood residence. 

Although she did not have a biological daughter, Rhonda Brooks Stott, an Australian Rotary exchange student whom she and Frank hosted during Rhonda’s senior year of high school in the late 1970s, became that daughter she never had. 

Ruth loved to travel, and visited Rhonda in Australia with stops in New Zealand and Samoa along the way. She toured the United States extensively with her husband and retraced Frank’s WWII tour of duty in England, France and Germany. 

Ever the adventurer, Ruth rode horses, sailed the Pacific Ocean and flew in an open-cockpit biplane and other aircraft. 

Her true love, though, was Braxton County and, specifically, the town of Sutton. She was very active in her church, Christ Church United Methodist, served as president of the Methodist Women’s group and prepared many meals in the church kitchen. To the many children she looked after in the church’s nursery, she was known as “Grandma Ruth.” She also served on the board of the Christian Food Pantry. 

Ruth made the world a more beautiful place as a longtime member of Judy's Garden Club, its frequent president, and she was instrumental in creating and maintaining many flower beds around Braxton County. These included gardens at the county courthouse, the public library, along Main Street and at "The Y" in Sutton; at Braxton Memorial Hospital; and at a Blue Star Memorial along Interstate 79.

She also was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and was a Cub Scout den mother.

She loved and was loved by her family, friends and community. She is survived by her four boys, James P. Atkins (Sandra), Brady R. Atkins (Connie), Lawrence B. Atkins (Beth) and Joseph C. Atkins (Melinda); brother-in-law Lawrence B. Lyon; six grandchildren, Joshua Atkins (Jamie), Leanne Leach (Richard), Laura Cliburn (Mark), Kristen Coffey (Brandon), Patricia Hinely (Jimmie) and Lawrence J. Atkins; 11 great-grandchildren, seven nieces and nephews; and her Australian family of Rhonda Stott (Graham), four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

Ruth donated her body to the West Virginia University School of Medicine. The family extends a special note of gratitude and thanks to the staff of Braxton County Health Care for the special care provided to their matriarch. A memorial service will be held for her in the summer. Davis Funeral Home and Onsite Crematory assisted the family. Online condolences can be made at

Donations in Ruth's memory may be made to Judy's Garden Club, in care of Pat McPherson, 1136 Stoney Creek, Sutton, WV 26601 or to the Sutton Public Library, 500 Main St., Sutton, WV 26601.


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