Ruth L. Milton
Ruth L. Milton, retired University of Florida Associate Professor Emeritus and Extension Youth Specialist of Gainesville, FL, died on January 16, 2020.
Ruth was born on April 7, 1927, to Louis and Julia Milton in Tampa, FL, and was raised in Ocala, FL, graduating from Ocala High School. She went on to earn an undergraduate degree at Florida State University (FSU) in home economics in 1949, and a masters’ degree in 1956, also at FSU, in home economics education. She later engaged in post-graduate studies at North Carolina State University.
Ruth began her career teaching high school home economics in Hillsborough, Gadsden and Manatee counties. She went on to serve as County Home Demonstration Agent in Gulf, Taylor and Manatee counties. Ruth then returned to FSU in 1961 to join the State 4-H Club Staff as Assistant State Girls 4-H Club Agent, serving as department liaison to the Home Economics Department in developing their program areas for 4-H. In 1964 she moved to Gainesville when the FSU program merged with the University of Florida’s (UF) Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). Ruth was especially focused on 4-H Citizenship programs, developing the Teen Leader Program in the late 60’s, founding the Florida 4-H Legislature, which has met in Tallahassee every year since 1973, as well as starting the 4-H Community Pride Program. In 1983 she received the Distinguished Service Award of the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents. Ruth’s 25 years working on the State staff plus her experience in home economics education and Extension work yielded a total 36 years of service. Upon Ruth’s retirement in 1985, she was named UF Associate Professor Emeritus.
Ruth was an active member and officer in professional, community and church organizations. She was a member and past Worthy Chief of Epsilon Sigma Phi and received their Meritorious Service Award in 1979. She was a member and former State Secretary of the Florida Home Economics Association and Past President of the Central Florida Home Economics Association. She was also a member of the National Association of Federal Employees (NARFE), and the Gainesville Camellia Society. Throughout her life, Ruth was a devoted church member, teaching Sunday school for over 25 years. She was a long time member at Westside Baptist Church, where she also served as an active Deacon for 5 years, and headed the Special Care Program.
Survivors include her sister and brother-in-law, Nadine and Russell Wills of Crystal River, FL, and nieces Phyllis Ruth Lloyd (Michael H. Lloyd), Teresa Walker (Richard Walker), and Janet Milton, all of the Atlanta, GA area, and nephews Larry Wills (Faith Roland Wills) of Oxford, MS, and Rusty Wills (Carolyn Wilson Wills) of Ocala, FL. She is also survived by grand-nieces, grand-nephews, and their children.
A Memorial Service will be held at Westside Baptist Church on Sunday, January 19, 2020, at 2pm. Interment will follow a graveside service for family and close friends at Anthony Cemetery in Anthony, FL, on Monday, January 20, 2020, at 1 pm, directed by Countryside Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Westside Baptist Church, 10000 West Newberry Road, Gainesville, FL.
To send flowers to Ruth's family, please visit our floral section.