Ruth Kemp

Ruth Hart Norwood Kemp, 89, of Goldsboro, died peacefully Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, at Kitty Askins Hospice Center in Goldsboro. She has family in Morehead City.

Her memorial service will be held outdoors at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28 at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Goldsboro.

She was born Dec. 10, 1930, in Goldsboro to Margaret Shannon and Thomas Hart Norwood. She was an extraordinarily creative and talented, loving and spiritual being. She was generous, giving, attentive and supportive of friends and family during many of life’s challenges and opportunities.

Ruthie was an English teacher by avocation with a degree from Mary Washington College. She paused her teaching career to become a military wife and mother and later, with friends, successfully started a new type of kindergarten focused on individuality, exploration, discovery and personal responsibility.

“Maga” was a creative and talented artist and artisan who could work with any medium, including cloth, paint, porcelain glazes and clay dug from the farm ponds to fashion interesting and unique treasures to gift to friends.

She was an avid environmentalist and recycled everything from paper plates and Ziplock bags to a 1957 Chevrolet. Yesterday’s squash dinner became today’s delicious soup, and you never knew what you would find in the refrigerator.

As a gardener, she could grow flowers and vegetables like no other. Ruth was a pioneer in the organic community and practiced sustainability before it was mainstream. She perfected a fish/vegetable growing system called “sandponics” that is now being adopted in Egypt for growing Tilapia.

Ruth was a spiritual soul who loved without limits and made lifelong friends wherever she traveled. She was an eternal optimist who looked for the fun in any situation. On a long walk down her driveway she exclaimed to a friend who had picked her up that the driveway walk was “nine songs long!”

Ruthie was a lifelong Episcopalian, but her spirituality was borderless. She adopted Quaker values from her husband’s family and joined a study group that included Islamic and Jewish participants.

She is survived by a loving family of four children, Skip Kemp and wife Grace of Morehead City, Jeannie Frash and husband Marty of Newburyport, Mass., Molly Larsen of Baker City, Ore., and Hart Kemp and Kristina Jones of Dudley; 10 grandchildren, Shannon Kemp, Sharp Kemp and wife Margie, Rachel Kleitches and husband Kevin, Scott Frash, Margaret Pflugh and husband Eddie, Luke Frash, Millicent Larsen, Kemp Larsen, Thomas Larsen and wife Denise and Sarah Kemp; and seven great-grandchildren, Thomas and Mia Frash, Ellie and Jake Pflugh, Flip and Thomas Kemp and Graycen Kleitches.

Ruth has joined many family and friends who preceded her to heaven, including her husband, Philip Sharples Kemp; and sister, Mary Lowrie Barnett.

In lieu of flowers, please go for a long walk and imbibe God’s wonderful world around you; create something unique and gift it to someone in need of a hug.

“Ruthie, we love you to pieces, porcelain pieces!”

Arrangements are by Cremation Society of North Carolina. Online condolences may be shared at

(Paid obituary)

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