Art Creative 04

Ruby C Williams

August 8, 2022

Ruby Williams Obituary

Ruby C. Williams, 94, of Bealsville, Florida, passed on August 8, 2022.

Ms. Williams is a nationally recognized self-taught folk artist.  She was born and raised during the Depression, in the historic African American town of Bealsvlle, Florida, founded in1865, by freed enslaved persons, including Williams' great-grandmother.  

After moving to New Jersey in the 1960s, she drove a bus, became a minister, and founded a church.  It was during this period that Ms. Williams then began a secret habit:  making paintings, which she kept quiet about, while continuing to minister to at-risk-youth.

Ruby C. Williams returned to Bealsville in the 1980s, to farm.  To make her small farm successful, she opened a self-built produce stand on State Road 60 and painted brightly colored signs to attract visitors.  Her paintings have led her into classrooms, galleries and museums in Florida and beyond.  Williams has said: "My life is to look up and reach up and take somebody with me.  No matter what, make someone else happy.  I think that's what the art does."

Ruby Williams' work is found in collections throughout the U.S., and internationally.  Her artwork has been featured in books (she illustrated a children's book, I Am Ruby) and exhibitions, including the Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, and the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore.  In 2005, the Smithsonian (Anacostia) Museum in Washington, D.C. exhibited ten of Williams' paintings and selected her artwork for the cover of their catalog, banners and promotional materials.  In 2013, Hillsborough Community College's Gallery 221 celebrated the work of Ruby C. Williams as a Florida folk art legend, with a solo exhibition.

Ms Williams' awards include the 2005 Department of State, Division of Historical Resources Preservation, Florida Folk Heritage Award, in 2009, she received the Folk Art Society of America Award of Distinction, and in 2017, Ms. Williams received the Lifetime Artistic Achievement IMPACT Award from the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts.

The family appreciates all kind gestures during this time of bereavement.

Please see below for service information.  Facemasks are REQUIRED at all services.  Please direct any flowers, acknowledgements and resolutions to Charlow Funeral Home.




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Public Viewing
August 20, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church
1840 E. State Road 60
Plant City, FL 33567

Funeral Service
August 20, 2022

11:00 AM
St. Mary Missionary Baptist Church
1840 E. State Road 60
Plant City, FL 33567

Interment following funeral service
August 20, 2022

Pinehill Cemetery
2601 Sam Hicks Road
Plant City, FL 33567

Please note
Please wear facemasks at all services.

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