March 4, 1930 - May 14, 2022
Dr. Francis “Ruth” Ketron, 92, passed away peacefully on May 14, 2022, due to complications from a fall, surrounded by her loving family. Born March 4, 1930, she grew up in Kingsport, graduating from Dobyns-Bennett High School in 1948. In 1949 she married Horton Ketron and enjoyed being a homemaker and caring for her husband and two daughters. Always interested in dental health, from her work in high school as a dental assistant she pursued those interest years later and in 1969, Ruth was accepted into the first class of the new Dental Hygiene program at ETSU. In 1971, she received her Associates Degree in Dental Hygiene with a B.S. in Health Education. Working full-time as a dental hygienist, Ruth began pursuing her Master’s Degree in Public Health at ETSU, receiving it in 1972. Ruth completed her Ed.D in Education & Health from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1979. Her dissertation “An assessment of the oral health status of residents in nursing home facilities of East Tennessee was a pioneering look at the need to implement dental health initiatives in nursing home care.” She joined the faculty of ETSU Department of Dental Hygiene in 1972, retiring in 1995 having been an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor, Interim Chairperson of Dental Hygiene, and Assistant Director at the Quillen College of Medicine’s Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (CGG). In her role as an Interim Chairperson she continued to strive for and attained program excellence, fostered learning, maintained academic standards, hired/evaluated faculty and to encourage the dental hygiene students to excel academically while developing into ethical and responsible professionals. Ruth’s work at the Quillen College of Medicine’s CGG, afforded her opportunities to present abstracts on dental/dental hygiene topics at professional conferences, meet/network with other individuals, cooperate with community leaders, and work with the staff members of the CGG to further their goals. She presented abstracts both nationally and internationally including England, South America and Canada. Upon her retirement in 1995, Ruth was honored with Professor Emeritus status. Retirement offered Ruth the opportunity to continue a life-long pursuit of knowledge. In 2003, she received a certificate in Biblical Studies from Graham Bible College and returned to ETSU to complete classwork for a graduate certificate in Gerontology in 2004. Ruth was a member of the American Dental Hygienists Association (ADHA) since a student, serving in offices at the local, state, and national level. In 2003, she accepted the Pfizer/ADHA National Award of Excellence at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, spotlighting her outstanding accomplishments that impacted the practice and future of the dental hygiene profession. Ruth has been an active member of the State of Franklin Track Club for over 25 years, running hundreds of races across the Southeast. Her competitive nature never stopped. As part of the Healthy Kingsport initiative, she logged millions of steps and exercised almost daily for many years at the Great Body Company, enjoying participating in as many exercises classes as possible. With a fierce competitive spirit Ruth currently holds 47 state records in the 1 mile, 2 mile, 4 mile, 5 mile, 5k and 10k runs. At the age of 90, Ruth competed in the 2021 Tennessee Running Tour War Party 10k at Warriors Path State Park coming in first in her age group with a time of 1:34, a pace of 15:13. Ruth’s last race was in April of 2021 where at the age of 91, she ran the Stoney Creek Bunny Hop 5k in a time of 46:07 at a pace of 14:50. Ruth is a U.S. Track & Field National Champion 5K Race Walker. She had numerous gold and silver medals for track and field in the Senior Olympics at local and district events. In 2020, she was induced into the State of Franklin Track Club Hall of Fame. Ruth’s volunteer work included being a chaplain at local hospitals, serving on Sullivan Co. Medical Reserve Corps, helping with the dental needs of hospice patients, ETSU Board of Dental Hygiene, Holston Conference Methodist Youth, lay speaker in the Methodist Church and teaching Sunday School to name a few. Dr. Ketron received the ETSU National Alumni Association Award of Honor in 2014 and inducted into the ETSU College of Clinical & Rehabilitation Health Science Hall of Fame in 2015. In 2017, she was inducted into Dobyns-Bennett High School Alumni Hall of Fame. Of all her accomplishments, Ruth’s greatest joy was her family, friends and faith. She saw each day as an opportunity to serve others and will be dearly missed by all. Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Carl Horton Ketron; daughter, Pamela Ann Ketron Cornett; mother, Maxie Patrick Godsey; father, Vernon Emmett Godsey; brother, Virgil Godsey; and her sister, Pauline Godsey Estepp. Those left to cherish Ruth’s memory are her daughter, Carla Ketron Snodgrass, White House, TN; granddaughter, Tracey Hawk, White House, TN; grandson, Carl William Snodgrass (Courtney), White House, TN; great-grandsons, Mason Hawk and Turner Snodgrass, White House, TN; brother, Darrell Godsey (Margaret), Gray, TN; nieces, Karen Kilgore (Mike) and Jennifer Ramey, both of Kingsport, TN; nephews, Gary Godsey (Vickie) of Austin, TX, Stanley Estepp (Regina) of Kingsport; She is also survived by her beloved companion, Harley Carden, Elizabethton, TN. She called him “Harley baby” and talked to him every night on the phone for 15 years. The memories she made with him were some of the best times in her life. The family will receive friends from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Vermont United Methodist Church, 1810 Bloomingdale Pike, Kingsport, TN 37660. The Funeral Service will follow at 12:00 pm with Rev. Jeremy McMillan and Rev. Justin Anderson officiating. A Private Graveside Service will be held in the Masonic Garden of Oak Hill Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Ruth’s honor to the Tri-Cities Dental Hygienist Association, Jennifer Byerley, 2923 Antioch Road, Johnson City, TN, 37604. To share memories and condolences with the family please visit www.oakhillfh.com The care of Francis “Ruth” Ketron and her family has been entrusted to the staff of Oak Hill Funeral & Cremation Services.
Dr. Francis “Ruth” Ketron, 92, passed away peacefully on May 14, 2022, due to complications from a fall, surrounded by her loving family. Born March 4, 1930, she grew up in Kingsport, graduating from Dobyns-Bennett High School in... View Obituary & Service Information
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