Ruth Wellons Woodley

    Birth Date: 11/18/1939
    Deceased Date: 06/03/2023

    Ruth Bryant Wellons Woodley, of Smithfield, 83, died Saturday, June 3, 2023. Ruthie was born November 18, 1939 to the late William Bryant Wellons, Sr. and Ruth Spivey Wellons. She was predeceased by her husband, Franklin “Frank” Ogburn Woodley, in 2010.

    A 1958 graduate of Smithfield High School and a 1962 graduate of the University of Georgia, Ruthie lived in New York and Atlanta before returning to Smithfield with her two sons. She owned an interior design business, worked in marketing and advertising for Capital Ford in Raleigh, and in retirement, she volunteered as a tutor for the Academic Skills Center at Johnston Community College. One of her greatest loves in retirement was her work as a volunteer at the SECU Hospice House in Smithfield, where she cherished the connections she made with patients’ families.

    Ruthie’s circle of friends was wide and varied and she treated them as her chosen family. She liked a good game of bridge, but loved playing a hand of gin, and all of it was better if it happened at the beach. Wrightsville and Atlantic Beaches felt like second homes to her, as long as she was there with friends or family. She loved a dinner party, was famous for her pound cakes, and anyone who loved her knew her compliments were extraordinary. Ruthie’s senior picture in the Smithfield High yearbook was accompanied by this quote, which embodied her perfectly: “Some people are created small of stature, but big of heart.”

    She is survived by her sons, Wayne Beckley Vaughan, Jr. and wife Brittney of Raleigh; William Wellons Vaughan and wife Shawn of Wilmington; and stepchildren, Franklin Ogburn Woodley, Jr. and Nancy Patterson Thomson. She is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law, William Bryant Wellons, Jr. and Clara Wellons of Smithfield; sister, Dee Wellons Lee of Four Oaks; and beloved cat, Winston.

    A celebration of life will be held Wednesday, June 14, 2023 at 6:00 pm at the home of Billy and Clara Wellons. Memorial contributions may be made to the Johnston Health Foundation Hospice Fund, PO Box 1376, Smithfield, NC 27577.

    Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

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