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Ruth Blackburn Bivens - Obituary





Ruth Bivens of Camden, Tenn., passed away on Tuesday, May 20, 2014.  Mrs. Ruth was born on April 16, 1919, in Hustburg, Tenn., near Camden, and was the only daughter of Howser and Selma Blackburn.  She was a 74-year member of the First United Methodist Church in Camden.   She was preceded in death by her husband Franklin Julian Bivens; her son James Franklin Bivens; and her four brothers Loyd Fuller, Thomas Fuller, Fernie Blackburn, and Robert Blackburn.

She is survived by her daughters Alicia Jones and husband Ron of Franklin, Tennessee and Carolyn Lawrence and husband Ron of Lenoir City, Tennessee; five grandchildren:  Allison Scribner, Stephen Jones and wife Mandi, Michael and Pam Jones, Carole Hutchens and husband Troy, and Molly McLean and husband Steve.   She is also survived by her 12 cherished great-grandchildren:  Madison, Marissa, Logan, Nathan, Andres, Anna, James, William Katherine, Barrett, Noella, and Bennett.

In the 1940s through the early 1970s, Mrs. Ruth and Mr. Frank were very active in the ownership and showing of Tennessee Walking Horses primarily in the West Tennessee area, along with their son Jimmy. They won numerous ribbons at The Celebration; Mrs. Ruth knew horse talent when she saw it. 

They were co-owners of the nationally renowned Frank’s Café on the Tennessee River, known for the best fried catfish, hush puppies, and vinegar coleslaw in the South.  They were trailblazers for the catfish industry and led the way to the popularity that the industry now enjoys---great food, great music (on the organ by Mr. Cannon Jordan) and exceptional services were their trademarks.  Mrs. Ruth took care of the customers while Mr. Frank took exceptional care of the food preparation.  Diners drove from Nashville and Memphis and other points in between to be treated to the best dining experience the South had to offer---to governors, senators, congressmen, and many other celebrities passing on US 70.

Mrs. Ruth will always be remembered for her tireless support to the children in Camden through school and church activities from the time her children were in school and into the school years of her granddaughters.  “Nanny”, as she was known to countless teenagers, was a chauffeur, counselor, chaperone, but above all a role model for others to follow.   Her love for her family was unquestionable and will be felt throughout her remaining family far beyond their lifetimes. 

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