Ruth Elizabeth "Beth" Reynolds died quietly at her home in Bay Minette, Alabama on August 23, 2021, in the company of her longtime friend Archie Anderson. She was the only child born to Ruth Coghlan Reynolds and Forrest J. Reynolds on November 8, 1952, in Mobile, Alabama. Early on, Beth was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disorder that affected her movement, muscle tone, and bearing, but it could not contain her exuberant spirit or desire to live life in full. In 1959, she was denied access to Mobile’s public elementary schools by the Board of Education. With her mother’s encouragement, Beth attended St. Joan of Arc Catholic Elementary School. Beth would later say, "I was six or seven years old on my first day of school. I wore braces on my legs. It was hard for me to learn like the other kids. It was hard for me to make myself understood when I talked. The other kids did not understand me. So, I’d sit on a bench at recess and watch them play." Beth was not deterred. Faced with these seemingly insurmountable odds, Beth learned kindness, courage, and perseverance, qualities that endured throughout her life and earned her the nickname "True Grit." In the mid-sixties, Mobile’s public school policy changed. Beth attended Sidney Phillips Junior High School, where she sang in the choir (loud, as Beth liked to say), and Murphy High School. In 1973, Beth enrolled at the University of Alabama and studied speech. She was one of only a handful of students with disabilities to be admitted to the University at that time. Beth considered all she loved to be family, relative or not, and family was a lifetime commitment. Beth wrote poetry and knew sign language. She liked people, especially children, and animals and opened her home intermittently to those who needed a place to stay. Beth was a great inspiration to all who knew her.
Beth was preceded in death by her grandparents, Maynard and Bessie Nelson Coghlan and Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, and her parents, Forrest J. and Ruth Elizabeth Coghlan Reynolds. Surviving her death are cousins, John Coghlan and Charles Coghlan, their families, and many others. Also surviving her are longtime friends - those she considered family - Archie Anderson, Allan R. Chason, William “Bill” Reed, Elizabeth Reed, Brenda Broughton, Helen Demeranville, Joan Demeranville, Bob Demeranville, and Christine Carter, who she considered a goddaughter. They will forever remember Beth for her sweet smile, big heart, strong will, and feistiness.
Due to possible inclement weather funeral services are being moved to the chapel of Norris Funeral Home on Monday, August 30, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. with Reverend Larry Bryars officiating.
Pallbearers include Archie Anderson, Allan R. Chason, William “Bill” Reed, J. Myles “Bubba” Reed, Michael Bryars, and Antonio Watts.
In lieu of flowers, and in honor of Beth and her love for animals, donations may be made to the North Baldwin Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 190, Bay Minette, Alabama 36507.
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