In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Ruth Elaine Hancock, 91

Ruth Elaine Hancock, 1929-2021

Ruth Elaine Hancock, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among East Asian Affinity Peoples in Hong Kong, died Jan. 13, 2021. She was 91.

Hancock was born on March 25, 1929, in Roanoke, Virginia, to the late William Benjamin and Mary Etta Montgomery Hancock. She graduated from Stewartsville High School, Goodview, Virginia, and received the Associate of Arts from Averett College, Danville, Virginia, and the Bachelor of Science from the School of Nursing, Medical College of Virginia (now part of Virginia Commonwealth University), Richmond Virginia. She was licensed as a registered nurse and worked as a nurse in Richmond and Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Hancock wrote when seeking missionary appointment that she became a Christian as a child. A woman in her church, Mrs. “Sis” Franklin, started a Girls Auxiliary (now Girls in Action), a missions organization for girls. “It was here, and later in her Y.W.A., that the germ of mission consciousness was sown in my life,” she wrote.

Hancock found a job when she finished high school, having no intention of going to college. But she felt restless. “Then one night … I attended a mission study class with my aunt with whom I was living with at the time. During the course of this meeting, I knew that this was what God wanted me to do with my life: missions—something I had never considered myself a worthy candidate for.”

Years of preparation followed, and the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed her in 1959 to serve a s a missionary nurse in Kowloon, Hong Kong. In 1991 she retired after 32 years of service.

Hancock is survived by her brothers, Zane Hancock (Peggy) and Dexter Hancock (Linda); sister-in law, Mary Turner Hancock; two nieces; three nephews; one great niece; and four great nephews.

A funeral service was held Jan. 19, 2021, at Beaverdam Baptist Church, Vinton, Va., with burial following in the church cemetery.

Read an obituary here.