Ruth Reed Whitaker, age 77, passed away Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Fayetteville. She was born Dec. 13, 1936, in Blytheville, Ark., the daughter of Judge Lawrence Neill and Ruth Weidemyer Reed. She was preceded in death by both of her parents; her husband; one son, Mark Reed Whitaker; two brothers, Lt. Col. Phillip Reed and Ancil Reed; and one sister, Phyllis Reed.

She was a graduate of Heber Springs High School and Hendrix College. She was married to Dr. Thomas J. Whitaker Jr. and lived in Fort Smith for many years.

After relocating to Cedarville, she was elected to the Arkansas State Senate in 2000. Ruth served as a state senator until 2012 and was the ranking senator at the end of her term in office.

She is survived by a daughter, Alicia Whitaker Viers and husband Ron of Cedarville; a son, Dr. Bryan Whitaker and wife Carol of Fayetteville; a brother, George Reed of Little Rock; three granddaughters, Emily Zantow and husband Aric of St. Louis, Madeline Whitaker of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Amelia Whitaker of Fayetteville and several nieces and nephews.

Memorial service will be 11 a.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church, 116 N. 12th St., Fort Smith. Private burial will be at Rose Lawn - Holy Cross Cemetery under the direction of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ruth’s memory to the Humane Society of the Ozarks, 1020 S. One Mile Road, Fayetteville, AR 72704 or the Arkansas Alzheimer’s Association, 210 N Walton Blvd., Suite 25, Bentonville, AR 72712.

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