Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Community Entrepreneur Ruth West Passes, Leaves Behind Legacy

**For Immediate Release**

November 18, 2009

Contact: Amyre Loomis at (718) 260-9191

Entrepreneur Ruth West Passes; She Leaves Behind Restaurant Legacy in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill

(Brooklyn, Nov. 18, 2009) Ruth Collock West was born in 1934 in Bayboro, North Carolina, and passed in Brooklyn, New York on November 12, 2009.

Having spent her youth in North Carolina, Ruth found her way to Brooklyn after finishing school, and worked her way up from a waitress, to a restaurateur. Ruth worked in the food business for over 50 years; the combination of being a lover of soul food and a people person propelled Ruth forward to opening her first business in 1967, and then three decades later in 1997, she opened the infamous Ruthie’s Soul Food, which is still thriving today.

“All of us on Myrtle Avenue are deeply saddened by Ms. Ruthie’s passing. Ms. Ruthie and her family have been neighborhood fixtures for many years, and we are very grateful for the commitment and investment they have made in helping us to revitalize Myrtle Avenue,” said Michael Blaise Backer, Executive Director, Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership.

Ruth West was an inspiration. An active member of Friendship Baptist Church in Bed-Stuy for nearly 40 years, she touched many lives within the community, as well as at the two locations of Ruthie’s Soul Food Restaurant in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill Brooklyn.

Deaconess Bertha Brown from Friendship Baptist Church related that Ruth Brown was the most loyal church member she knew. “Ruthie was loyal during her entire membership at Friendship Baptist Church; whenever anything needed to be done – she would roll up her sleeves. A trustee for many years, she would help out wherever and whenever needed,” she said.

Ruth’s six children, 22 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, other relatives along with numerous friends and customers will always remember her, and her delicious food with fondness. She shared her heart with all, and each evening at her restaurants closing, Ruth gave food to the homeless, who credit that meal as being their only one on many days.

“Ms. Ruthie was a jewel in the community; she spent her young adult years in Fort Greene and opened Ruthie’s during the mid-90s, which is now treasured within the community. She opened the first black and women owned restaurant in downtown Brooklyn, and was known for helping and feeding the poor and homeless over and over again. I am touched by a handwritten note posted at the Myrtle Avenue store that simply reads - thank you, from someone who is homeless,” said Council Member James.


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