Willie Ruth Pongratz is best known as “Ruth Greene,” “Miss Ruth” or simply “Ruth” in her Christian ministry that began in the mid-1980’s. She was known as a Christian vocalist, songwriter, evangelist, teacher, healer and prophecy specialist.
She was born in rural Robertson County, Texas to Elmo and Ruth Greene. She married Billie Davis Mathews in 1961, becoming a navy wife on the move and rearing four children: Melinda, David, Jon and Joseph. Her first marriage did not ultimately survive the ravages of the Vietnam War, where Billie Mathews was engaged for a substantial period of time.
As she raised her son Joseph alone, she began her personal ministry to others. She ministered at the premature death of her son, Jon, in 1986. According to Ruth, her ministry in song began in earnest at that time, centered in Abilene, Texas. In 1998, Ruth relocated to live and minister from the Dallas, Texas area, cutting her first Christian music album of traditional favorites in 2000. During this time, Ruth enjoyed more publicity and notoriety as her ministry expanded. She married John Pongratz, who became “Mr. Greene” in her ministry, because nobody could pronounce his last name. In 2002, their ministry expanded into songwriting, public speaking and a more intimate study of the written Word.
In 2005, John and Ruth moved to Nashville with the idea of growing their ministry through Ruth’s ministry in song. Nashville resisted, so they became refocused on deeper Bible understanding and teaching through translation, study and writing. Ruth retired from singing with some reluctance in 2011, but her personal ministry continued with her husband until just before her untimely death. She is the author of three books with her husband and more than 500 research articles and commentaries. She leaves behind a large volume of unfinished research and material. She had an interest in revitalizing her ministry of song until the end, and was in the midst of preparation for another CD with music she had written with Holly Ly. Ruth was a songwriter member of ASCAP.
During her ministry, Ruth became an increasingly uncompromising advocate for her Heavenly Father’s righteousness, and bringing that to others with unvarnished truth. She was satisfied with nothing less.
She died from a blood clot during a procedure, after an extended stay in the hospital resulting from an accidental head injury.
There will be no funeral service or memorial service at her request. She was a woman of valor with strong feelings for her family. She is survived by her husband, John, her sister, Shirley, two stepsisters, Paulette and Patsy, her surviving children, Melinda, David and Joseph, as well as many grandchildren. Her ministry and life goals will continue through her husband and her past partnership in Bible Vision. Contributions can be made through Bible Vision or YouCaring.com.