Hattie Marie Carter Ruder

Published 12:39 am Sunday, December 9, 2018


NATCHEZ — Hattie Marie Carter Ruder (Hattie Ree to those who knew her best), 81, passed away peacefully at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson on the morning of Dec. 7, 2018. Services for Hattie will take place at Trinity Episcopal Church in Natchez, on Monday, Dec. 10, with visitation at Trinity Church from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. Funeral service will follow.

Hattie, a great woman, wife, mother, and grandmother, was born on Oct. 20, 1937, in Natchez, the daughter of the late Weathersby Carter and Nan Kuehn Carter.

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She leaves behind a family who loved her dearly and of whom she was very proud.

Hattie was renowned for telling it like it is. She was genuine to a fault, a lamb at heart (or lion) and yet she sugarcoated nothing. Her words of encouragement, wisdom, and comfort, kept us in line and taught us that the real language of love is showing up, doing your best and making things happen.

She was a master cook in the kitchen.  She believed that Southern food was the best cuisine in the world, even convincing her Massachusetts-born husband, Fred, that black-eyed peas were incomplete without cornbread. No one crossed her threshold without leaving with a full tummy. She always provided adults with a big meal and children with nutritional food and indulgences like brownies accompanied by big bowls of sweetened whipped cream. Her pound cakes and snickerdoodles were superb. Not only did she keep them in her freezer, but always brought one or the other to her children and grandchildren when visiting. All of those brand new Tupperware containers, now piled empty in our cabinets, are calling in her voice, saying, “Get up and cook it yourself!”

She was proud of her heritage, her home state and her hometown. She never met an organization that she could not take over and improve. Truly, if we learned one thing from her, it’s that one person can make a difference in this world, or at least she could. And she did.

Professionally, Hattie was a pioneer in Natchez tourism. She first served as a secretary for the Pilgrimage Garden Club, eventually becoming the first director of Natchez Pilgrimage Tours and serving as such for 25 years. During that time, she introduced The Natchez Pilgrimage to twentieth century marketing while working side by side with her friends and family. Her dedication to promoting tourism in Natchez was unflinching.  After leaving Natchez, she became Director of Marketing for The Palaces of St. Petersburg and The Palace of Versailles exhibits in Jackson and was Director of the Ridgeland Tourism Commission for ten years. She was a founding member of Southeast Tourism Society, a founding member of Mississippi Scenic Byways Commission and a Board Member of the Mississippi Tourism Association. In 2002, she was the first person to be named into the Mississippi Tourism Hall of Fame through the Mississippi Development Authority.

Her volunteerism began early. She was a member of the Alpha Delta Chapter of Phi Mu at Ole Miss. As the daughter and granddaughter of cattle farmers, she served as President of the Mississippi Cowbell Association. She was a member of the Natchez Junior Auxiliary, serving as chairman of several committees and eventually as President and a regional officer for NAJA. With the Junior Auxiliary, she spearheaded the first radio-thon for St. Jude Hospital partnering with her dear friend Marie Perkins, chaired annual walk-a-thons for Muscular Dystrophy and organized city-wide testing for juvenile amblyopia.

As a lifelong member of the Pilgrimage Garden Club, she served as committee chairman for several committees such as the flower show, yearbook, Antiques Forum and pageant committee. She was a devoted fundraiser for Trinity Episcopal Day School and a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Dunbar Chapter.

She was active in politics, serving as a volunteer for political campaigns on a local, state and national level. Hattie also represented her home state in the Mrs. America Pageant in 1963, bringing home a first place ribbon for her outstanding German Chocolate Cake.

She will be sorely missed and survived by her husband of 30 years, Fred Ruder, her brother Webb Carter, children, Bryan Stacy, Courtney Taylor, and Fred Ruder Manning; son-in-law Marc Taylor, daughter-in-law Betsy Jane Manning; grandchildren Stacy Parker, Camille Taylor, Colin Stacy, Tyler Stacy; great grandchildren Everette, Walter, Quinn, Justice, and Arabella Stacy, and Azalea Manning; sister-in-law Carolyn Gwin, niece Sarah Carter Smith, niece Barbara Ruth Stacy Rodriguez, cousins Bonnie Carter, Brett Brinegar, Everette, Catherine, Latta, and Beverly Ratcliffe, and Alice and Nick Apostle. She leaves behind multitude of friends — all whom loved her dearly and will never forget her tenacity, wit, charm, grace and undying love and caring for them.

Pallbearers will be, Fred Manning, Stacy Parker, Jim Smith, Fred Parker, Everette Ratcliff and Marc Taylor.

Honorary pallbearers will be, Webb Carter, Sammie Cauthen, Tommy Fore, Sonny Gwin, Collin Stacy and Tyler Stacy.

In lieu of flowers, please give generously to Trinity Episcopal Church at 305 South Commerce, Natchez, MS, 39120.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at lairdfh.com.