Ellen Parks Ruark, 92, passed away peacefully during the early morning hours of May 22, 2021.
Ellen was the daughter of the late George Calvert Parks, Sr. and Martha Parks. She married Paul Kenneth Ruark in April 1949, and they enjoyed 72 years together as husband and wife.
Ellen greatly enjoyed sports and played on every female varsity team during her college career from 1945-1949 at State Teachers College in Salisbury, now known as Salisbury University. Recognized as a key member of the basketball, volleyball, field hockey, gymnastics, and fieldball varsity teams, Ellen was considered to be the school’s best female athlete during the latter half of the 1940s, and she played on all five varsity teams for four years. She remained active in all facets of the Women’s Athletic Association, and served as both treasurer and president. Her athletic talent was extraordinary and she became only the second female in college history to be named “Best Woman Athlete” for two consecutive years, winning the award as both a sophomore and junior. Celebrated as one of the college’s best athletes of all time, Ellen was inducted into the Salisbury University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. She was the first female athlete ever to be inducted from Dorchester County.
After graduating from college, Ellen served as a career teacher and administrator in Dorchester County Public Schools and retired in 1976. She was a member of the Dorchester County Retired Educators Association and Maryland Retired Teachers Association.
Ellen dearly loved the Lord and walked daily with Him from childhood. She had a special place in her heart for Hoopers Memorial United Methodist Church in Hoopersville, where she was a lifelong member. She was also a member of the Hoopers Island Volunteer Fire Company.
Ellen is survived by her daughter Teena Ruark Gorrow and Teena’s husband Wayne; her grandson Ernie Beath III, Ernie’s wife Jennifer, and their baby Willow; her son-in-law Jim Gibb; and Terry Vincent whom she loved like a son. Ellen’s husband Paul preceded her in death on May 8, 2021, and her older daughter Paula Ruark Gibb preceded her in death on May 3, 2012. Her siblings, Benjamin Parks, Rosa Lewis, Emma Cannon, Sara Phillips, and George C. Parks, Jr. also preceded her in death. Ellen was a godly, kind, and generous woman. She will be greatly missed by her family and friends.
Visitation and funeral services will be held at Hoopers Memorial United Methodist Church in Hoopersville, Maryland, on Friday, May 28, 2021. Officiating will be Pastor Joe Kelly. Visitation will begin at 12:00 followed by the funeral service at 1:00 p.m. Interment will immediately follow at Dorchester Memorial Park located on Route 50 and Aireys Road in Cambridge, Maryland. Face covering and social distancing will be required.
Honorary Pallbearers are Wayne Gorrow, Ernie Beath III, Jim Gibb, Terry Vincent, and Joseph Ruark, Sr.
Pallbearers are Ernie Beath II, Jay Newcomb, Clarence Ruark, Jacob Ruark, Joseph Ruark, Jr., and Josh Ruark.
Arrangements entrusted to Newcomb and Collins Funeral Home, 308 High Street, Cambridge, Maryland 21613.
Memorial donations may be made in Ellen’s memory to Hoopers Memorial United Methodist Church in care of Janet Ruark, 1839 Hoopersville Road, Fishing Creek, MD 21634.