Ruth Evelyn (Jordan) Hanke-Creighton, 94, died at 12:19 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, at her residence, with her family around her.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Bass Patton Dean Funeral Home is assisting the family.
Mrs. Hanke-Creighton was born on July 11, 1927, to Ike Jordan and Myrtle (Nixon) Jordan in Tyner, NC. She grew up one of four children in a very modest three-room farm house, where her mother made all their clothes. Although there was little money, there was wonderful food and wonderful times. She attended Chowan Middle School and High School, graduating in 1944.
That same year, she met a handsome, young Marine, John D. Hanke, who was learning to fly the B-25. It was love at first sight for both, and the courtship was fast. On July 22, 1944, they married. Soon, Mr. Hanke was deployed to the Pacific, and his wife was pregnant with the first of eight children, John Raymond Hanke. Over the next 40 years, she raised and gave birth to Lucretia Ann Hanke, Deborah Ruth (Hanke) Churan, twins Donald William Hanke and Daniel George Hanke, Rebecca Hanke, Christopher Jordan Hanke and Jennie Bernice (Hanke) Adams.
For much of the 1950s and 1960s, the Hankes raised their family in Butler. Mrs. Hanke was involved in the church and politics, while her husband was principal of Butler School. A seamstress, Mrs. Hanke made many of the earlier children’s clothes.
During the 1970s, the family moved around Illinois for Mr. Hanke’s work as superintendent of schools. Mrs. Hanke involved herself with more church and community work. She also completed some college course work and continued making and selling doll clothes.
In 1980, the couple returned to the farm in Butler. In the mid-1980s, with all their children graduated from school and gone, Mrs. Hanke left to care for her dying sister, Audrey. After her death, Mrs. Hanke returned to North Carolina to care for her parents who were in their 90s. After the death of her parents, Mrs. Hanke separated from her husband, John, and they eventually divorced.
Mrs. Hanke remained in Elizabeth City, NC, working different jobs, and often selling doll clothes and pastries at the farmers’ market.
In 1999, Mrs. Hanke returned to Hillsboro to be with her daughter, Deborah, as she faced breast cancer. She remained in the area after Debby died that same year.
In 2002, she met Louis Ray Creighton, and they fell in love. They were married at the Free Methodist Church in Hillsboro, and had a joy-filled life until he died of cancer in 2007.
Mrs. Hanke-Creighton continued to enjoy life until the end. She spent three or four hours each day on the computer enjoying Facebook, where she could see and interact with her children, 22 grandchildren and more than 24 great-grandchildren. She also spent many hours reading every day, often six or seven books a week on her Kindle.
A prolific artist, she enjoyed painting and crafting, and her yard is still filled with plate flowers, totems and decorations she made. For the last ten years, her son, Christopher, lived with her and assisted in keeping her independent and happy at home.