Iona "Ruth" Hayes, age 75, of Henderson, Nevada passed away on Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
She was born in Atlanta, Georgia on July 20, 1944 to Jesse James and Mattie Kate (Williams) Jefferson. Ruth moved to Cincinnati at the age of twelve and was raised by her uncle JC and aunt Mary Williams. Ruth accepted Christ at an early age and attended St. Jude Church of God and Christ under the late, Bishop Robert McDaniel.
Ruth graduated from Taft High School in 1962. During her senior year she was married to York Hayes, and from that union they had two daughters, Ina and Teresa. They lived a few places while York was in the Air Force, but they found their way back to Cincinnati and to the St. James Church of God under the late, Pastor Martha McDaniel Williams, where Ruth was the children's Sunday school teacher.
She worked for the IRS, and then went on to work at Avon from 1970 through the early 1990's. Ruth was also a personal care attendant where she worked for different agencies throughout the Cincinnati area. In the late 1970's Ruth and York divorced, and Ruth continued to raise their two daughters as a single mother. Ruth loved her daughters unconditionally and was the perfect role model for them to also become strong and independent women. Her faith in God was instilled within her daughters, helping them to find their own faith and connection with the Lord.
In the early 1990's Ruth met David Gilliam and they spent 27 years together before his passing on February 7, 2018. They shared a very close relationship over the years and were true soul mates. After David's passing, Ruth made the decision to move to Nevada to live with her daughter Ina due to her own declining health. While living in Nevada, Ruth attended church services with her daughter and continued her close relationship with God.
She was preceded in death by her daughter, Teresa L. Cavanaugh; parents, Jesse James Jefferson and Mattie Kate Alli; sister, Doris Watts; and companion, David Gilliam.
Ruth is survived by her daughter, Ina Jean (Thurman) Tolbert; brother, Sonny (Ruth) Watts; sisters, Katie Percell, Genda (William) Morris, and Darlene (Marcus) Kenny; nine grandchildren, Michael Keenan, Jr., Keona Scott, Brittany Cavanaugh, Le'Tresha (Antonio) Mitchell, Cierra Cavanaugh, Destiny Johnson, Davonte Hayes, Liesza Johnson, and LaRon Cavanaugh; twenty two great grandchildren; and a host of other family members and friends.
Services for Ruth will be private due to the current environment surrounding the coronavirus. Thank you for your understanding during this challenging time.
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