The owner of a popular restaurant passed away Tuesday night. Ruth Neice had owned Ruth's Place Restaurant for the last eight years.
On the side of Virgil H Goode Highway in Rocky Mount sits the small, eight-year-old restaurant.
"It's like a family here; customers, we know most of them, a lot of them by names," Brenda Carter, a server at Ruth's Place, said.
Ruth's Place Restaurant may not look like much from the outside, but on the inside, it's sizzling with personality and packed with customers. Much of that is thanks to the owner, Ruth Neice, who passed away Tuesday night at the age of 62, surrounded by loved ones.
"She was not only my boss, but she was also a friend and on that term, I'll say a really good friend. She cared for all her employees, and she loved her family more than life itself," Missy Sutherland, a host and server at Ruth's Place, explained.
It's Neice's family that will take over ownership. Her daughter-in-law has been helping Neice run the restaurant for the last three years, while she was sick with ovarian cancer. Now, Neice's daughter-in-law and son will take over full-time.
"We just have to stay strong for Ruth, stay strong for the customers, and just think that she is in no more pain now, and just keep this restaurant going," Sutherland said.
Employees say that's all Neice really wanted.
"The last wishes for this place was to keep it going, do not shut it down, life goes on," Sutherland said.
Employees say Neice was the kind of owner who would always make sure to spend time with her customers.
"Ruth was a very, very kind person, kindhearted, just so humble," Sutherland said.
And Neice's employees and customers agree, she will be greatly missed.
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