Ruth Ann Bankhead Schaefer of Chapel Hill, NC passed away peacefully at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Medical Center surrounded by her family and friends on January 24, 2022, at the age of 53 years old.
Ruth is survived by her husband Philippe (Phil) Schaefer of Chapel Hill, NC; parents Royce and Sharon Bankhead of Franklin, TN; brothers, Richard Bankhead (Tamar Sautter) of Aviano, Italy, Timothy Bankhead (Katie Bohr) of Franklin, TN and sister Ramona Bankhead Hinckley (James) of Clifton, VA; her 10 nieces and nephews and lifelong friends Rory Rochelle and Patricia Soto.
Ruth was born on October 15, 1968 in Bethesda, MD to Royce and Sharon Bankhead. She was the oldest of four children. She attended Chantilly High School (Class of 1986), George Mason University and the Medical College of Georgia where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. Ruth enjoyed a long career as an ultrasonographer at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill where she had been employed for 23 years. She enjoyed the challenging discipline of ultrasound and had numerous specialty certifications. Prior to that, Ruth traveled extensively around the United States as a contract staff ultrasonographer. Her favorite assignment was in Hawaii where she embraced the culture of “Hawaiian life” and became an avid scuba diver.
Ruth met her husband Phil in November 1999 in Durham, NC, it was love and appreciation at first sight and they married the following Spring on May 3, 2000 on Anna Maria Island, FL. They made their home in Chapel Hill, NC. Ruth had many hobbies. She enjoyed being active and loved the art and beauty of Tai Chi. She embraced the outdoors and spent as much time as possible on long walks discovering nature preserves and hikes “off the beaten path.” Ruth also had a huge affinity for animals. She shared an unconditional love for her dog “Bogie” and enjoyed visits to local farms where she especially enjoyed baby animals because they brought joy to her core. Ruth was an avid traveler. In her younger years she did a great deal of international traveling seeing as much of Europe as possible. Later she focused on Ireland which was her favorite. She also loved to visit friends and family around the US. She once said, “as long as I have enough energy and good health to travel and see friends and family, I am happy.” Ruth appreciated spending time with her nieces and nephews and enjoyed being a part of their lives as they became capable and responsible young adults. She somehow miraculously never forgot a birthday.
Ruth will be remembered as a gentle and loving spirit who never spoke an unkind word. She never knew a stranger and would help anyone in need. She had a high level of faith, and her love and friendship were unwavering to all that knew her.
Special thanks to all her ultrasound colleagues at UNC and to all the medical providers, nurses and staff who cared for Ruth in her last days and hours at UNC Medical Center. A celebration of life is scheduled on February 13, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. at North Carolina Botanical Garden - Reeves Auditorium, 100 Old Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill, NC, with a reception to follow. Timothy Bankhead will officiate the celebration. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Ruth's life. In lieu of flowers please send donations to Orange County Animal Services https://www.orangecountync.gov/155/Animal-Services or the American Cancer Society https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html.
Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is assisting the Schaefer family.