Tributes paid to ex-missionary from Norwich
By Derek Haylock
2010: Ruth Dix, a former missionary with the Dohanvur Fellowship and a lifelong member of Surrey Chapel, Norwich has died, aged 89 years, in Oakwood House, Colney, on 11 February.
Ruth Mary Dix was born in 1920 in Surrey Lodge, next door to the original Surrey Chapel building in Surrey Street, Norwich. Her death at the age of 89 years brings to an end 160 years of continuous involvement of the Dix family in this church.
The older Charles Dix was one of the first members of Surrey Chapel, the independent church established by Rev Robert Govett around 1850. Later, William was Govett’s executor and set up the original Surrey Chapel Trust Deed; and Ruth’s father, Charles, was the Sunday School Superintendent.
The Dix family had moved to Norwich from Stoke Holy Cross with Colmans in 1850. Ruth’s great-grandfather, Charles Dix, her grandfather, William Dix, and her father, Charles Dix, were all in turn managers of Colmans.
As a young woman Ruth attended Lonsdale House School on Earlham Road. Ruth’s passion was for nursing, motivated by her strong Christian faith and her lifelong commitment to caring selflessly for others. This led her to missionary service from 1949 to 1978 in the hospital of the Dohnavur Fellowship in Tamil Nadu, South India: the children’s home, schools and hospital, founded by Amy Carmichael in 1901. There she was given the nickname, Ever Ready, after the battery – a tribute to her willingness always to do anything, any time, to serve others. In 1966, she was appointed as Nursing Superintendent. She taught and trained numerous Indian nurses.
At the age of 58 she returned from India to Norwich to care for her widowed mother and when her mother died she continued her life of caring for others until illness overtook her in her eighties. Although she was a single lady without children of her own, she had, in effect, three families, to whom she was devoted and all of whom loved her in return: a large, extended natural family; the church family at Surrey Chapel; and the family in Dohnavur, who were never out of her prayers until the day she died.
An Indian nurse, Balaleela, who worked with Ruth in Dohnavur writes: “Ruth was such a wonderful person who will always live in our memories. We praise the Lord for giving us the privilege of working with her.”
A Thanksgiving Service will be held at Surrey Chapel, Botolph Street, on Wednesday February 24, at 12 noon.
Please add your tributes to or memories of Ruth below.