Partner Spotlight – Ruth Still

Brown EdwardsPartner SpotlightPartner Spotlight – Ruth Still

Ruth started her career in public accounting in June 1986 after graduating from West Virginia State University.  She worked at a couple of local Charleston firms before joining Chambers Paterno & Associates in 1992, a firm which later became Brown Edwards in 2008.  Ruth’s entire career has been in the tax area, with disciplines including income, estate, sales and use, and property taxes.  She has worked with various industries, construction, architecture/engineering, attorneys, physicians, restaurants, extraction industries, and not-for-profits among them.   Ruth provides income, estate and continuity planning, as well as tax planning for mergers and acquisitions and general advisory services.  Her oldest son Steven, daughter-in-law Katie, and 16 month old grandson David live in Charleston, SC.  Ruth lives in Charleston, WV with her son Zachary, and two dogs, Archer and Dauber.

Let’s ask her a few questions:

Where are you from and where did you grow up?

My family, going back generations, is from the Cross Lanes, WV area, about 10 miles from Charleston.  I was actually born at Travis Air Force Base Hospital near San Francisco, CA and lived in that area until age two when my parents moved back to Cross Lanes.  There I stayed through college and beyond, raising my own children in the area.  It was a nice, semi-rural place to grow up with a great sense of community.

Do you have any hobbies? If yes, tell us about them.

I took up golf several years ago before a neck/shoulder issue sidelined me, but I have plans to ease back into the game.  I like the beautiful scenery and camaraderie, which outweigh my lack of talent.   I’m also a big sports fan, and follow WVU football and basketball as well as the Dallas Cowboys (don’t be a hater) and the Cincinnati Reds (don’t pity me).

What is something people would find surprising to learn about you?

In my senior year of high school I was in all-state chorus and made the all-state big league softball team, facts made more remarkable by my absolute inability to prove either by example at this point.

What do you consider your best quality or trait?

I make people laugh.  I find humor in most situations and appreciate wit in others.  We’ve all heard that laughter has tangible health benefits, and I like to spread that “wellness” around.  Of course, maybe they’re laughing AT me…

What is the best advice you ever received and from who?

My late husband Jeremy Still was fond of saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”   Such a small phrase with such a profound meaning.  Life is full of inconveniences that get in the way of happiness, so instead of getting worked up, step back and appreciate what you have.  He lived by that example even in the face of dire circumstances, and I often hear those words when something trivial creeps in to steal my serenity.  Remember, it’s all small stuff.

If you could be a superhero what would be your superpower?

Other than the ability to blink my eyes and have 500 individual tax returns accurately completed instantly?  Hmmm…  On a serious note, I’d have the ability to cure cancer, especially in children.  St. Jude’s Hospital is a wonderful organization, but I’d make it obsolete.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite healthy food is fresh strawberries.  My favorite “bad” food is filet mignon with béarnaise sauce.  Unfortunately, it’s obvious which favorite gets more playing time.

What famous figure (living) would you most like to meet and why?

I’d like to meet Donald Trump so I could take his phone away from him!!!

What do you think is your biggest contribution to the Brown Edwards team?

We’re continuously faced with complex problems of clients and internally alike.  I think I have good common sense and a creative mind and I use those traits to find solutions that are innovative, efficient and effective for our clients and our firm, and all with a sense of levity, of course!