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Ruth Lee Pouncey


Ruth Lee Pouncey, 100, of Memphis, Tenn., died April 30, 2020. Ruth was born Dec. 7, 1919, at the Norwegian- American Hospital in Chicago, Ill., daughter to Joe and Helene Lee, second and first-generation Norwegians.

At 2 yrs. of age, she and her mother traveled to Norway to visit her Norwegian family. In 1927, her father was transferred to Sears Crosstown (Memphis) and the family relocated to Memphis. Ruth attended Vollentine Elementary and Snowden Schools before graduating from Central H.S. in 1938.

She graduated from Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) in 1941 where she majored in English and was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. Upon graduation she began teaching at Vollentine. She met Baxter Pouncey at Southwestern and they were married Aug. 19, 1944, in the Chapel at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral.

Ruth and Baxter moved to Hughes, Ark. and later to Crawfordsville where Baxter was Principal/Coach and later Superintendent of Schools. She taught elementary school until they started a family. In the mid-60s she received her degree in Counseling from Memphis State University (now UofM); served as the high school guidance counselor and later principal of the elementary school. Upon Baxter’s retirement in 1980 they moved to Memphis.

Both Ruth and Baxter were active participants at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. She served on the Altar Guild, taught Sunday School, became President of the Episcopal Church Women, and volunteered at the Episcopal Bookshop.

Ruth shared her parents’ Norwegian traditions, from food to music. She loved art, reading and gardening. The family took a trip annually to Wisconsin and Michigan where her parents had roots. The trip finale would be a visit to Chicago including the Institute of Art and lunch at Marshall Fields. Her favorite takeaway was a box of Frango Mints.

It was important to her that her sons got a good education, and a strong Christian foundation. The family is grateful for the love and care given to Ruth by the staff at Allen Morgan and other facilities of Trezevant Manor for the last 10 years.

She was preceded in death by her husband George Baxter Pouncey and infant son Baxter Lee Pouncey; and is survived by her sons George Andrew Pouncey (Kate) of Germantown, Tenn., and Jon Lee Pouncey of Decatur, Geo.; grandsons Erik Christian Pouncey of Dunwoody, Geo., and Nicholas Baxter Pouncey of Lawrenceville, Geo.; four nieces and nephews, Frances Lee (Jim), Joe Lee (Jennifer), Mary Hamlin, and Scott Lee (Christy). A small family- only graveside service will be held, with a Service of Celebration at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, 692 Poplar Ave., Memphis, TN.

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