Born January 24, 1918, Ruby Hawkins West was reared and educated in the Piedmont area of South Carolina. Sixth of the fourteen children of Fincher B. and Polly Smith Hawkins, Ruby needed to leave high school and seek employment at a young age.
Ruby valued the importance of a good education, so when fate left her a single parent with three daughters to provide for, she was determined they would have a better education than she had experienced. With that in mind, Ruby left the rural South during World War II and found employment in the shipyard of Portland, Maine.
Later, Ruby returned to South Carolina and secured employment as a domestic. She soon realized her strong point was her ability to prepare tasty food that could satisfy even the most discerning of appetites. Ruby loved creating her own recipes and searching recipe books for new recipes. She would prepare and serve the most delicious dishes and then wait for the smiles on the faces of her family, friends and employers. The compliments that followed were her delight, as well. Later in life, Ruby was afforded an opportunity to venture into the catering business. She found this most rewarding and continued catering until her death in June, 1994.
Ruby's life-long dream was fulfilled when she witnessed her daughters and grandchildren receive college degrees. Remembering Ruby (Nana as she was known by her grandchildren) and her zest for learning fondly, her family decided it was only proper to establish a scholarship in her memory; thus the Ruby Hawkins West Memorial Scholarship Fund became a reality.