The Gingerbread Lady, Ruth Pierce Burton, entered the church triumphant Feb. 16, 2011, at the age of 95. She was a descendent of Ellis County pioneer families including the first postmaster of Ellis County.

In 1968, she and her late husband, Cecil Burton, founded the famed Waxahachie Gingerbread Trail. She became known as “The Gingerbread Lady” and was officially designated by the Waxahachie city council in 2002.

In 1983, she was inducted into the Waxahachie Ex-students Hall of Fame for her accomplishments as a noted portrait artist, excelling in florals and landscapes. In 1993, she was honored as Waxahachie’s First Lady.

Ruth started her volunteer work early. She achieved the Eaglet Girl Scout level in her hometown of Ferris in 1928. In the late 1930s she was the director of youth for the Waxahachie District of Methodist Church. She has served the Ellis County Crippled Children, Waxahachie City Zoning & C3 Streets and Intersections Project of 2003.

Mrs. Burton’s artistic flair became evident in her ability to design gowns for many belles at proms, coronations and weddings. Her knack for the “fancy stuff” led to a commission for a Miss America pageant gown with lots of hand applied rhinestones, sequins and ruffles.

She was a founder and charter member of the Ellis County Historical Museum and Art Gallery and served on both boards. Active in the Ellis County Federated Clubs, she was president of the Century Club in 1964. In 1965, she was chairman of the Garden Club award-winning Beautification Project at the Waxahachie Post Office.

She had been a member of First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie for 79 years, where she was a member of the Fidelis Sunday School Class.

Ruth was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Duncanville Review Club and several bridge clubs. She was also a Dale Carnegie graduate assistant to members and instructors. She was a life member in the Ellis County Art Association and Historic Waxahachie. She was an avid reader and bridge player.

She sketched and painted extensively on locations as she and Cecil traveled the USA, Canada, Mexico and Europe. She had 11 one-man shows and won more than 100 ribbons. Her paintings are owned throughout the United States.

Her parents, Doreecie Elizabeth Pitts Pierce and George William Pierce, her husband of 57 years, Cecil Burton, and two sisters predeceased Ruth. 

She is survived by daughter, Olivia and Fred Harrington of Waxahachie; granddaughters, Angela and Bob Heck of Midlothian, and Teenya and Alan Barnard of Rockport, Texas; and three great-grandchildren, Daniel Barnard of Tucson, Ariz., Blaire Barnard of Rockport, Texas, and Rachel Heck of Midlothian.

Ruth Burton will be missed greatly by all her family and friends.

Thank you to the staff of Pleasant Manor for their dedication and loving attitudes. 

A visitation will be at the home from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, 2011.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, in the chapel of Boze-Mitchell-McKibbin Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Waxahachie City Cemetery.

Memorials may be sent to the Ellis County Art Association, 503 E. Main, Waxahachie, TX 75165, or First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie.

Arrangements by Boze-Mitchell-McKibbin Funeral Home in Waxahachie.