Ruth Easterling

Metropolitan Business and Professional Women was founded in 1964 by Ruth Elizabeth Moss Easterling, one of the first women to serve in North Carolina’s State House of Representatives.

Mrs. Easterling was born December 26, 1910 in Gaffney, SC. She graduated in 1929 from Centralized High School, Blacksburg, SC, and in 1932 from Limestone College with a major in English and minors in Math and History. Upon graduation, she worked at Dover Mill Company, Shelby, NC, in the accounting department and then at First Baptist Church, Shelby, NC. She married Claude Bennett Easterling on October 3, 1939. She worked at Camp Shelby in Mississippi during WWII until a divorce in 1946. In January 1947, she came to work for I. D. and Herman Blumenthal at Radiator Specialty Company in Charlotte, NC.

From 1964-1974 she was director of Wild Acres Retreat and continued to serve on the Board. Ruth was elected in 1976 to the North Carolina House of Representatives and served 13 terms (26 years) working mainly on women's and children's issues and the state budget. She worked to improve financial rights of women and children upon separation and divorce, worked to improve education, and payment of child care workers and staff/child ratios in homes and centers. North Carolina lost a dedicated leader when Ruth passed on November 1, 2006.

Ruth sponsored the "Smart Start" bill, Governor Jim Hunt's landmark education initiative for young children. She served four years as Chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus of the NC General Assembly, as well as four years as Chair of the Mecklenburg Delegation to the General Assembly. She joined the local Business and Professional Women's Club in 1948 and rose in the ranks to National President in 1970-1971. She urged Governor Terry Sanford to establish the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women, which he did. Ruth was selected as WBT Radio "Woman of the Year.” She was also a member of the League of Women voters, the Women's Political Caucus, the Democratic Women's Club, and other Women's groups. She also served on Charlotte City Council. She received a Doctorate of Laws from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

The Metropolitan Professional Business Women's Association (MPBW) works to elevate the standards for women in business or professional careers, bring about a spirit of cooperation among business and professional women in the United States, and extend opportunities to business and professional women through education. The mission of MPBW is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information. This mission is shared by the North Carolina and national Foundation of Business & Professional Women. MPBW contributes to the Charlotte community in several ways. The primary philanthropic activity is to provide scholarships for women pursuing a business or professional career. In honor of the founding member, Ruth Moss Easterling, MPBW established an endowed scholarship at UNC Charlotte in 1989 to be awarded annually to undergraduate students from various programs at the institution.

This document was prepared using the information from the two websites listed below:

http://www.gaffneyledger.com/news/2006-11-03/obits/023.html

https://mbpw.org