Feb. 3, 1931-Nov. 6, 2019

Ruth Lee Harlan, 88, died Nov. 6, 2019, in her Natchitoches home.  Although her passing was not anticipated, we are grateful that her 88 years were full of joy, good health and rich friendships.

She was born in Sterlington, La., Feb. 3, 1931, to Culbert and Letitia Lee.  Raised in Winnfield, she met her future husband, Willard, while both were students at NSU.  Ruth and Willard returned to Winnfield where they raised their three children, Benjamin Harlan (Connie), Paul Harlan (Lou), and Laura Boles.

Ruth was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Willard Harlan; and granddaughter Ashley.

She is survived by her children and their spouses; grandchildren, Katie Eller (Mike) and their children Karah and Samuel, Emily Sita (Brandon) and their children Brady and Laney, Christopher Harlan, Lindsay Hilton (Jeremy) and their children Porter, Hampton and Sutton, Stratton Harlan, Bailey Boles Parker (Zach), and Jesse Boles; sister, Benjai Appel of Tucson, Ariz; and five beloved nieces, Charlotte Smeltzer of Luray, Va., Marcia Bledsoe (Bob) of Pagosa Springs, Colo., Melinda Bobbell (Bruce) of Tucson, Cindy Winn of Grand Junction, Colo., and Suzanne Reeves (Charles) of Lake Charles; and lifelong best friend, Marjorie Nell Cloy (Billy) of Baton Rouge.

Some memories of our Mee-maw and/or “Ruthie” that will always make us smile – going to drink coffee with one of her many friends which, sometimes, was code for having a cigarette on the sly; opinions – on everything –  whether or not you asked; and southern cooking that may not have followed nutritional best practices, but was, oh, so good.

Following a private family burial, the family will receive friends at First Baptist Church of Winnfield Saturday, Nov. 9 from 10:30 a.m. until time of services.  Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. at the church with the Rev. Tommy Rush officiating.

In lieu of flowers the family request that memorials please be made to “Operation Christmas Child” through either First Baptist Church of Natchitoches or Winnfield.

Online messages of condolence may be sent to the by visiting