Obituary of Ruth McCollum Combs transcribed and submitted by Betty B. Gabbard
RICHMOND, KY – 13 September 1989 – Ruth McCollom Combs, 87, a former hospital board chairman and long-time community volunteer, died yesterday (article written in Lexington Herald-Leader, on September 14, 1989) at Kenwood House in Richmond after a long illness.
The Owsley County native and her husband, the late Earle B. Combs, came to Richmond in 1921. She was best known for her volunteer work in the community, particularly with the local hospital board. She was chairman of the board when the Pattie A. Clay Hospital was built in 1969.
“We are all saddened by the death of Mrs. Combs,” said Robert R. Martin of Richmond, president emeritus of Eastern Kentucky University. “She was a gracious lady who devoted her life to her family, friends, church, and the Pattie A. Clay Hospital.
“She was at all times a great supporter of Eastern, and she and Mr. Combs were our very good friends.”
Mrs. Combs was a member of the First Christian Church, Richmond. She was active in the local chapters of the American Red Cross and the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she was a member of the Richmond Woman’s Club, Richmond Garden Club, and other civic organizations. An active genealogist, she served as the Combs family historian, and she was a charter member of the Boonesborough Historical Society.
Her husband, Earle B. Combs was one of Major league baseball’s greatest players. A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, he played for the New York Yankees in the 1920s and 1930s and was a member of the famous Murderer’s Row team of 1927, which included such greats as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Combs was a member of the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents from 1957 to 1975 and as chairman from 1972 to 1974. He also was Kentucky’s commissioner of banking.
Survivors include two sons, Earle B. Combs, Jr., Spring Hill, FL, Donald G. Combs, Richmond, director of athletics at Eastern Kentucky University; three sisters, Norma M. Sutton and Martha M. Reynolds, both of Richmond, and Mabel M. Brown; a brother, Charles B. McCollum of Hudson, FL; 11 grandchildren; and 11 great grandchildren.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Christian Church. Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Turpin Funeral Home
Contributions can be made to the Ruth and Earle B. Combs Memorial Scholarship Fund, Eastern Kentucky University Foundation, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY 40475-3101