Matheson, Ruth Whitehead ‘Petie’

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Ruth Whitehead Matheson of Gloucester, fondly known to her friends as Petie, died on May 2, 2017, shortly after the passing of her beloved husband of 41 years, William John Matheson.


Petie was born Nov. 27, 1950 to John Lewis Whitehead and Mary Shelton of Radford, Virginia. Petie attended Hannah Moore Academy, Sullins College and St. Andrews College. She met her husband John when they served as Best Man and Maid of Honor in a wedding at Abingdon Church in Gloucester.

Soon after their own marriage, they moved to Gloucester where they lived at their home, Rabbit Hill, for the next 38 years.

While living in Gloucester, Petie developed her passion and expertise in the growing and showing of daffodils. She was a longtime member of the Garden Club of Gloucester and the Garden Club of Virginia, where she served for many years as the Daffodil Chairman.

No one knew more about conducting a daffodil show than Petie. As a member of the American Daffodil Society, she judged daffodil shows up and down the Eastern seaboard for several years.

It is rare to meet a person who is equally strong as they are gentle. Petie acted with poise, grace and honesty, forever loyal to her friends and family. She was like a second mother to many people, always offering unconditional love and support.

Petie is survived by her daughter, Sarah Matheson Harris, and Sarah’s husband, Eric Russell Harris, both of whom she cherished.

She is also survived by her sister Mary Scott Whitehead Baker, her brother John Lewis Whitehead, and her twenty-two nieces and nephews. Petie lived a full and wonderful life, and will be deeply missed by her large family and many friends.

The funeral service was held Saturday, May 6 at Abingdon Episcopal Church, White Marsh, Virginia at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts in Petie’s memory be made to Abingdon Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 82, White Marsh, VA 23183 or the Garden Club of Virginia, 12 East Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23219.