A memorial service in celebration of the life of Ruth Gatlin, 77, of Diana, Texas, will be held in the Harleton High School Auditorium on Saturday, October 21st, 2017, at ten o’clock in the morning. The family will receive friends in the Garden Court of Welch Funeral Home from six o’clock in the evening until eight o’clock in the evening, Thursday, October 19th, 2017.
The service will be conducted by the Rev. Craig Evers and Merl “Bubba” Muse. One of Mrs. Gatlin’s favorite hymns, “How Great Thou Art,” will be presented by Mark Griffith. Another favorite of hers, “Amazing Grace,” will also be shared.
Ruth was born to Hershel William and Claytie Wyatt McCoy on December 1st, 1939, in Diana, Texas and died Saturday, October 14th, 2017, in Longview, Texas. She spent her childhood growing up with her brother, H. W. McCoy, Jr., and her sister, Jeanne McCoy Scott, with the family on Hershel McCoy Road.
She was a member of County Line Baptist Church since she was twelve years old. She served her church in many capacities: pianist from age ten (even before she became a member at twelve) until the mid years of her life, Sunday School teacher for numerous years, church clerk also for many years, and strong supporter of her pastors and members as well as other people in the community.
Mrs. Gatlin attended Harleton ISD and then graduated from Kilgore College with an emphasis in business. Ruth took evening courses throughout the years, and upon graduation from Kilgore College she was offered a position with Southwestern Electric Power Company in Longview, Texas, where she worked until she married Norman Allen Gatlin from Jefferson, Texas.
Ruth’s and Norman’s parents had known each other all their lives, but she and Norman actually met when their schools competed in sports. Both were outstanding athletes. Ruth played all sports at Harleton High School, invariably being named on All-tournament teams, MVP, and Most athletic at HHS. She continued playing sports at Kilgore College, especially enjoying the intramural sports.
After Ruth and Norman married, she accepted a position in the Accounting Department at Lone Star Steel, where she was employed for five years. She resigned when she and her husband learned they were going to have their first son, Chipper Norman Gatlin. Two years later, a second son, Skipper Allen Gatlin, was born. Ruth remained home until Skipper started to Kindergarten at Trinity School of Texas in Longview, where Ruth taught classes so that she could be on campus with her son. When he started first grade at Harleton ISD, she accepted a position at the school.
For forty years, Ruth served in various positions at Harleton Schools in elementary, junior high, and high school. She was especially recognized for planning and presenting one of the best annual Veterans Day Programs in East Texas. Veterans and family members came from far and near to participate. Channel 7 started filming the program to show on the ten o’clock news each year.
Ruth served on numerous committees while she was at Harleton ISD as well as committees and boards in her church and the community. When Harleton ISD built the new school and gymnasium, Ruth served on the fundraising committee and devoted countless hours to restore the many trophies, plaques, and other awards that were burned in the former high school. Devoting her time to the students was her main love at the school. Throughout the years, former students kept in contact with her.
She was recognized and named as the Harrison County Homemaker of the Year. Ruth was the classic homemaker. As much as she loved working with the students during her forty years at Harleton ISD, she loved being a homemaker most of all. While her son and grandchildren felt blessed to have such a loving and supportive mother and grandmother and were very proud of all of her accomplishments, they are most appreciative of her devotion and the loving care that she gave to their father and grandfather during his fifteen-year journey with heart and other health problems.
Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, Hershel William and Claytie Wyatt McCoy; her son, Skipper Allen Gatlin; and her brother, H. W. McCoy, Jr.
She is survived by her husband, Norman A. Gatlin; son, Chip Gatlin and his wife, Dyanne, all of Diana; her granddaughter, Brooke Wesson and husband, Nick, of Longview; granddaughter, Lauren Hardin and husband, Dustin Hardin, and great granddaughter, Haegan Grace Hardin, of Diana; grandson, Sloan Adam Gatlin and great grandson, Spencer Adam Gatlin, of Waller; Louis Ward Wilson; and numerous nieces and nephews, all who were very dear to her.
In lieu of customary remembrances the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions be made to the Harleton High School Library or County Line Baptist Church.
Online condolences may be offered at www.welchfuneral.com.