She was a member of the President's Council and the Scholarship Committee. She was named Mother of the Year twice, and Woman of the Year in 1998.
But Ruth's primary claim to fame was as the mother of her four children, who were 6 months, 2, 4 and 5 when their father, Robert Thomas Vance Sr., died in 1960.
She instilled in them the same spiritual values that motivated her, as well as "the importance of being a credit to their family and a contributor to their community," her family said.
"She later passed along these values to her grandchildren."
One of her sons, Robert T. Vance Jr., was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer who included among his clients the West Philadelphia residents whose homes were destroyed in the MOVE confrontation in May 1985. Altogether, 61 homes were destroyed after police dropped a bomb on MOVE headquarters and the fire quickly spread through the neighborhood.
He fought for years to get proper compensation from the city for the displaced residents.
Ruth's daughter Sheilah D. Vance was executive director of the Institute for Educational Equity and Opportunity in Washington, and was press secretary to Bob Casey in his run for Pennsylvania governor in 1986.
Ruth was born in Darby to Pleasgo and Emma Allen Roberts. She graduated from Darby High School at age 16.
Her spiritual journey began at First Baptist Church of Darby under the pastorate of the late the Rev. Fletcher Williams.
She and her husband were married Oct. 25, 1947. They were married only 13 years when he died.
Ruth held a number of clerical jobs in her career, and, after her husband's death, joined General Electric Co. She retired after 27 years as a contracts analyst.
"She will be remembered as an outspoken, smiling and serious-minded individual," her family said.
She had lived in Gulph Mills in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, since 1950. In 2010, she moved to Maryland to live with her daughter Valerie Vance Adeyeye, also a lawyer.
Besides her son and daughters, she is survived by another son, Stephen Michael Vance, a contractor and writer, and nine grandchildren.
Services: Were Saturday.