Ruth Gragg Early

Published 7:27 am Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dec. 18, 1925 –

Jan. 8, 2013

Ruth Gragg Early, age 87, of Winston-Salem, N.C., died Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 at her home.

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A service to celebrate Mrs. Early’s life will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. at Knollwood Baptist Church. Following the service, there will be a reception at which the family will receive friends.

She was born on Dec. 18, 1925 in Winston-Salem to John Thomas Gragg and Ruth Joyner Gragg. As a child, she was raised in Bainbridge, where she graduated from Bainbridge High School and then attended Shorter College.

In 1946, she returned to Winston-Salem where she met and then married Dr. Ira Gordon Early on Dec. 20, 1949. Their early married years were spent in Cincinnati, Ohio and Anchorage, Alaska. In 1953, they returned to Winston-Salem and raised five children.

Mrs. Early was a charter member of Knollwood Baptist Church and was a member of the Mary Martha Sunday School class. She was a devoted mother to her five children and a friend to all she met.  She enjoyed reading, following the stock market, playing bridge and spending time with family and friends. An avid gardener, she spent hours working in her yard as “therapy” and enjoyed doing for others, whether baking one of her famous pound cakes, providing a bereavement meal or offering a place to stay when in town.

She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, a sister, Betty Gragg Austin and a nephew, John Gragg Austin.

She is survived by her five children, Dr. Ann Early Bibb and husband Bill of Decatur, Ga., Susan Early Ciccarelli of Apex, N.C., Katherine Early and husband Peter Solet of Marshall, N.C., Dr. Ira Gordon Early, Jr. and wife Lee of Simpsonville, S.C. and Betty Early Dominick and husband Jay of Princeton, N.J.  She was the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren, Robert and John Bibb, Katherine and Nicholas Ciccarelli, Boyce and Thomas Dominick and Brandon Early and recently became a great-grandmother to Ian Bibb. Also surviving are two sisters, Susan Gragg Cash and Phoebe Gragg, a niece, Ellen Austin Lowery (Robert) and a nephew, Lee Cash. She will be greatly missed by her children and all who knew her.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Salvation Army or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Salem Funeral Home, Winston-Salem, N.C., is in charge of the arrangements.∆