Ruthie Carey honored with memorial pavilion

Tracy Haun OwensWest Knox

Late Westminster Presbyterian Church elder Ruthie Carey was always doing special things for others, says her friend Betty Hanes.

“She was really well known and very loved,” Hanes says.

Carey died in an accident in July 2016, when a tree fell in her yard in west Knoxville during a spate of thunderstorms. She left a husband, Bart, and three grown children. Family friend and fellow church member Tim Ryan seized on the idea of raising money for a pavilion in her name, and fundraising, mostly from internal donations within the church, has been proceeding briskly since.

Ruthie Carey Pavilion will be an outdoor spot for gatherings, including weddings, reunions, clubs, and more. It will stand near the church’s labyrinth and the prayer path on the west side of the church campus. Like both of those, it will also be open to the community for use.

Ryan has spearheaded the soft donation campaign and chairs the fundraising committee. Last month, local vocal performer and teacher Meredith Mackay organized a concert to benefit the pavilion. “Show Tunes I Love” featured favorites from “Phantom of the Opera,” “Porgy and Bess,” “Show Boat,” and other loved musicals. Performers included Mackay, her students, church members, and others.

Site preparation started last May. Hanes, who also serves on the fundraising committee, says that the outpouring of support for the memorial has been great, both from the community and the congregation. The congregation has put a sign announcing the coming pavilion at its Northshore entrance in response to community interest. The ground has been cleared and landscaped in readiness, and the church is working on the next phases, including engaging contractors. Tentative hopes are to have the pavilion completed this winter.

Contributions for the pavilion can be mailed to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6500 Northshore Dr., Knoxville, TN, 37919. Include a note specifying the donation is for the Ruthie Carey Pavilion. For more information about the church and its other activities, visit

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