Ruth Lee Parsons Neill Johnson

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Ruth Lee Parsons Neill Johnson died peacefully at her home in Port Ludlow, Wash. on July 10.

Ruth was born on March 6, 1932, in Vicksburg to Dr. Willard H. Parsons and Edna Earl Parsons. She attended Carr Central High School and All Saints College, as it was known at the time. After graduation from high school, she attended Mary Baldwin College and Sophie Newcomb College where she studied art and interior design, both of which were life-long passions. She married Dr. Emmett Cleveland Neill, Jr., also of Vicksburg, in 1951.

While residing in Vicksburg, Ruth was active in the Junior Auxiliary and with Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.  She led the committee that published Restoration Recipes, a cookbook fundraiser for the church. This is something that the family still finds amusing, as the kitchen was not her favorite room. The Neill family moved to Ocean Springs, Miss. in 1975 where Ruth resumed her interior design career and ran a wine and cheese shop.

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In 1986, she married John Rochelle Lee Johnson, Jr. of Chadds Ford, Pa. While Ruth had always taken the opportunity to travel, she and John Lee made it a priority in their time together. They traveled the world and spent much of their spare time documenting their adventures. Scandinavia was one of her favorite destinations.  Following Mr. Johnson’s death, Ruth returned to Ocean Springs until 2005 when she relocated to Port Ludlow, Wash. While her travels weren’t worldwide at this point, she explored the Pacific Northwest and western Canada as much as possible. She was rarely, if ever, seen without her beloved standard poodle, Lucca.  

A memorial service will be held at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island, Wash. on July 30 at 10:30 a.m.  A second memorial service will be held in Vicksburg, at a date to be determined later.  

Ruth is survived by her son W. Brien Neill, and his wife Katherine Aden Neill, of Port Ludlow, Wash.; daughter Laura Neill of Jackson; grandchildren Christopher Neill, and his wife Mary Loffhagen Neill of Minnetonka, Minn.; Sarah Neill Bailey and her husband Jordan Bailey of Cheney, Wash.; and great-granddaughter Ella Ruth Neill of Minnetonka, Minn.

She is also survived by stepchildren Susan Johnson Tulloch of Henrico, Va.;  John Rochelle Lee Johnson, III and his wife Evelyn Thomas Johnson of Charlotte, N.C.; and DeForest Johnson and his wife Christina Bowen Johnson of Kennett Square, Pa.; 11 step-grandchildren, 23 step-great-grandchildren, and one step great-great-grandchild.  

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate any donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation or the poodle rescue of your choice.