September 2, 1940 - September 24, 2021
Mary Elizabeth McCraw Ruef passed away on Friday, September 24 at her home in Columbia. She was born in Spartanburg, SC on September 2, 1940, to the Reverend D. D. McCraw and Velma Harriett Bridwell McCraw. After attending Anderson College, Mary’s first job was in the Washington office of 5th district South Carolina Congressman Thomas S. Gettys. She returned to Columbia where she held administrative positions in The State Hospital’s rapidly growing psychology department located in the Hall Institute. During this time, she earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Carolina, which prepared her to teach business courses at Lexington High School. Mary began her work as a professional fundraiser in 1984 when she was named the first Fundraising Coordinator for the new Children’s Hospital at Richland Memorial. Mary helped create a large cadre of committed volunteers who worked with her on a variety of creative fundraising events. She was instrumental in making Children’s Hospital part of the national Children’s Miracle Network. Her commitment to health care is evidenced by her next position as the executive director of the Baptist Hospital Foundation. Throughout her life, Mary and Lee made and kept many loyal friends. They loved to entertain. Mary set a beautiful table for dinner parties and mastered the art of gathering larger groups of old and new friends who enjoyed the Ruef’s hospitality. She was a long-time member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, where she was part of an excellent kitchen team well-known for preparing thousands of delicious meals every year. Mary was predeceased by her parents; and brothers, Deever Daiten McCraw, Jr. and Joseph McCraw. She is survived by her husband, Leland C. Ruef; beloved goddaughter, Elizabeth Kincaid Love Wallace of Tallahassee, FL; and sister, Velma Ruth McCraw Barbrey of Simpsonville, SC. The family thanks long-time friend and housekeeper Bonnie Watson, Alex Walker, Tabitha Shannon, the clergy and staff of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, and Halcyon Hospice for their care. A memorial service will be held at 11 o'clock Thursday, September 30th at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Columbia. Interment will follow in the Columbarium. A reception will be held under the oaks on the lawn. Masks are required inside the Cathedral. A live stream of the service may be viewed by visiting the church website at www.TrinitySC.org/Funerals. Memorials may be made to The Trinity Foundation, 1100 Sumter Street, Columbia SC 29201 or to PRISMA Health Children’s Hospital, 7 Richland Medical Park, Suite 7129, Columbia, SC 29203.
Mary Elizabeth McCraw Ruef passed away on Friday, September 24 at her home in Columbia. She was born in Spartanburg, SC on September 2, 1940, to the Reverend D. D. McCraw and Velma Harriett Bridwell McCraw. After attending Anderson College,... View Obituary & Service Information
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