Ruby Butler DeMesme

June 24, 1948 ~ April 20, 2020 (age 71)


Ruby Butler DeMesme passed April 20, 2020 in Myrtle Beach. Private visitation will be held from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM Saturday, April 25, 2020 at Ocean View Funeral Home, Myrtle Beach Chapel.  The visitation will be LIVE STREAMED from 2:00PM to 3:00 PM at:

 Ocean View Funeral Home Myrtle Beach chapel is in charge of arrangements. 

The Honorable Ruby Butler DeMesme transitioned peacefully in her sleep on April 20, 2020. Ruby was the youngest of eight children born to Paul and Luegenia Butler, of Clinton, NC on June 24, 1948. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Donald; daughter, Donnielle (Scott); son, Michael; and grandchildren, Michaela, Noah, and Dominic. Ruby has two surviving siblings: James Franklin Butler and Albertene Butler Goodman. She has a host of very special nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters- and brothers-in law, and friends whom she loved fiercely.


Ruby radiated joy! She was an unpretentious, loving, and generous spirit who harnessed a quiet force that guided her beautiful life’s journey with integrity and grace. She was a woman of great faith, courage, tenacity, and motivation with a breathtaking smile. She selflessly made time for those who needed it, positively impacting everyone in her orbit. She was usually both the smartest, and the humblest person in the room, which is a very rare combination. At her core, Ruby deeply and profoundly cared for people and that trait has left an indelible imprint on everyone she touched. Also, she really loved to laugh and dance.


Ruby attended St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1969. She later earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ruby wanted her life’s work to be helping people and as a result she began her career as a social worker. She served as an executive administrator in the Cumberland County, North Carolina Department of Social Services from 1969 to 1980.

In 1980, she joined the Department of the Army and spent the next decade working in several positions primarily focused on helping military families. From January 1989 to April 1990, she was an Office of Personnel Management Congressional Fellow in the Office of Sen. John Glenn (D–Ohio) advising on military matters. After this assignment she returned to the Department of the Army. The common thread throughout all of these assignments was Ruby’s commitment to helping military families.

In 1991, she moved to the Department of the Air Force, becoming Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Air Force for Health Affairs, and Morale, Welfare, Recreation, and Services Program. In February 1993, she became Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, being promoted to full Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Force Management and Personnel in May 1994.

On July 6, 1998, President Bill Clinton announced his intent to nominate Ruby to be Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower, Reserve Affairs, Installations, and Environment. She was confirmed by the Senate on July 30, 1998. She was the first African American woman to be appointed to this position, which she held until her retirement in 2001.

After retiring from government service, Ruby joined IBM as a Senior Defense Fellow, later becoming Director of Human Capital Solutions & Defense Practices. In 2005, she joined BearingPoint’s Public Services Business Transformation Team. Four years later, she joined Deloitte as a Senior Advisor/Strategist on Federal Government Human Capital Programs and Policies.

She was chairman of the Andrews Federal Credit Union Board, White House Appointee to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, member of the Army Science Board, and the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Social work.

After living in the Washington DC Metropolitan area for 30 years, Ruby and her husband Donald retired to Myrtle Beach, SC where she remained very active. She kept sharp through her book club; increased her financial acuity with her investment club; and, maintained her body and mind through her YMCA classes and friends. During her retirement, her passion for her sorority Delta Sigma Theta remained high; she was a Delta for 50 years and was one of the distinguished "Delta D.E.A.R.S." – she really loved how the organization gave back to the community. She was also an active member of the Andrews Federal Credit Union Board. In addition to her activities and social groups, she loved sitting outside on her veranda reading a book or listening to music or the water to commune with God and nature.


Ruby had many blessings which she was happy to share and will truly be missed for her encouraging words, wisdom, infectious smile, and selflessness. She loved life and took advantage of every single day she had on this Earth and she will forever be a magnificent source of light.


The family will hold a private visitation on Saturday, April 25, 2020 at the Ocean View Funeral Home on Carver Street in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Obituary and  Streaming of Visitation:


As a result of gathering guidelines imposed by the Governor of South Carolina, a ten-person-at-a-time restriction will be strictly enforced. Mourners have been asked to abide by the social distancing guidelines.

Condolences may be sent to her husband, Mr. Donald DeMesme, and her daughter, Donnielle, at 9551 Lugano Court, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579.

The DeMesme family has planned a memorial service for a future date. The interment will be held at Arlington Cemetery, followed by a private graveside service. The date will be shared when determined.



To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ruby Butler DeMesme, please visit our floral store.


Private Visitation
April 25, 2020

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Ocean View Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Myrtle Beach
1212 Carver Street
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Video is available for this event

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