Ruth T. Urquhart, a former teacher's assistant and teacher in the Hempstead School District, died at her home in Hempstead on Sunday. She was 89.
Urquhart, who was married to William Urquhart Jr., a local real estate broker and the first black member of the Hempstead school board, came to Hempstead from Sparta, Ga., as a child and attended schools there, graduating from the high school in 1940.
They married in 1941 and, after raising three children, Ruth Urquhart went back to school, first at Nassau Community College, graduating in 1976, and then at Adelphi University, where she graduated in 1978.
Urquhart had worked as a teacher's assistant for several years, beginning in 1970, and was a classroom teacher in the district from 1978 to 1983.
"She was a very dignified woman," said Mel Jackson, a longtime community and civic leader on Long Island. "She and [her husband] Bill were very instrumental in shaping the village."
Her husband died in 1992.
Gail Beaubian, of Los Angeles, one of Urquhart's three daughters, called her "a woman of character, honor and distinction, who was devoted to civil service in her community and to the children she served. She also did a lot of mentoring and always strove to instill values and character in her students."
Other survivors include daughters Patricia Brown of Aurora, Ohio, and Wendy Urquhart of Manhattan; a grandson; and three great-grandchildren.
The body has been cremated, and a memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on March 30 at the Carl C. Burnett Funeral Home in Hempstead.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Urquhart's name to the New York City chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.