Ruth Emaline Carroll Yates, 84, of Casey, IL passed away at home Sunday, October 3, 2021 at 3:15 am. She was born August 6, 1937 to Loto Hazel Whittinghill and Herman Sylvester Carroll in Grandview, IL and spent her early years growing up in a variety of places in rural central Illinois.
As a young girl, she enjoyed roller skating, jumping rope, and playing jacks. She was the reigning 6th grade checker champion and master storyteller of the fictional family “The Schutsbaum Kids” to her younger brother David. She felt a call to ministry early in her life and imagined the raindrops running down her car window as people hurrying to the altar to be saved when she preached.
At age 14, she met the love of her life, James Robert Yates. They married on July 15, 1956 and moved into married housing apartments at Olivet Nazarene College called “GI-ville” so Ruth could continue her college education. They served at Bradley Church of the Nazarene and their first three children, Jim, Greg, and Stephanie were born.
Despite her undiagnosed dyslexia and the challenges of being married and raising a family while pursuing a college degree, Ruth persevered and graduated in May of 1962. In July of 1966, she was ordained as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene. She served as senior pastor at the Casey First Church of the Nazarene for 12 years and led the building of their first new sanctuary. The church saw great increase under Rev. Ruth Yates’s leadership. She ministered to the congregation and people of the community. She wrote and directed many Christmas plays performed in the church and invested in the lives of many people by leading teen choir, teaching classes, and countless other acts of service to those around her.
In 1973, Jim and Ruth had their fourth child, Sonya, and a few years later, she retired from full-time ministry to care for her mother and mother-in-law. However, frequently throughout the coming years, she spoke for special events, served as pulpit supply and interim pastor, and even planted a new church in Nashville, IL. She served on the Board of Credentials and was awarded two separate Distinguished Service Awards for her work in the Church of the Nazarene.
When Jim bought his four-seat Piper Cherokee aircraft, Ruth was terrified of flying, but rather than let fear spoil her fun, she took pilot lessons and learned how to fly the plane herself! Later in life she returned to school to pursue further education in writing. She has left us volumes of writing that is meaningful and practical commentary on life and scripture as well as several children’s stories. Ruth never quit learning and never allowed adversity to slow her down. She played piano, accordion, and organ beautifully by ear and sang with her beautiful alto voice. She and Jim enjoyed gardening, going for rides in his Model A “Maudie,” and later taking their golf cart up to Whitling’s Whimsy.
Ruth was a pastor whose deeply held faith and values guided her decisions and gave stability to her life. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her family and friends celebrate her life here on earth and look forward to the day when we will be reunited again.
Surviving are her children Jim (Susie) of Charleston, IL, Greg (Vicki) of Bourbonnais, IL, and Sonya Comer (David) of Bourbonnais, IL; son-in-law Rick Unger of Prosser, WA; grandchildren Terry (Lynnae) of Casey, IL, Laci Erickson (Chad) of Bourbonnais, IL, Jay Yates of Charleston, IL, Hollee Gambrel (John) of Naples, FL, Mitchell (Millie) of Casey, IL, Mandy Marin (Fabian) of Champaign, IL, Luc (Sheena) of Casey, IL, Heidi Hennessy (Kyle) of Bourbonnais, IL, Emily Unger of Prosser, WA, Michaela Comer Gray (Peter) of Denver, CO, Madison Comer of Bourbonnais, IL; great-grandchildren Tori, Connor, Kate, and Logan of Casey, IL, Wyatt, Rylee, and Toby Erickson of Bourbonnais, IL, Desmond Gambrel of Naples, FL, Ivan and Lillie of Casey, IL, Lucee and Jett of Casey, IL, Nora, Elise, and Lila Hennessy of Bourbonnais, IL, and Julian Marin of Champaign, IL; and sisters, Shirley Lowe and Norma Shotts, both of Marshall, IL.
Ruth was preceded in death by her husband, Jim Yates in 2018, daughter Stephanie Ruth Yates Unger in 2004, her parents, Herman and Loto Carroll, and siblings Lucille, Louise, Cecil, Glenn, Evelyn, and David.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 7, 2021 at The Casey Frist Church of the Nazarene, 1000 East US HWY 40, Casey, IL. Burial will follow in the Casey Cumberland Cemetery, Casey, IL. Visitation will be held Thursday morning 9:00 am – 11:00 am at The Casey First Church of the Nazarene. Per CDC Guidelines, indoor mask and face coverings are required regardless of vaccination status in the facility. Attendees should also practice social distancing.
Memorial donations may be made to The Jim and Ruth Yates Scholarship (Y002) at Olivet Nazarene University, One University Avenue, Bourbonnais, IL 60914 or give online at olivet.edu/donate. If donating online, please select “The Olivet Foundation” as your gift designation and list the scholarship above in the notes section.
To view the full obituary, send a condolence message, light a candle or post photos, visit www.markwellfuneralhome.com. Markwell Funeral Home of Casey, IL is in charge of the arrangements.
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