Gaston County Board of Education member Ruth Angel, known statewide as an advocate for special needs children, died Sunday in Gastonia at 78.
Angel was the former director of exceptional programs for Gaston schools, and a leader in developing programs for children with learning disabilities, the hearing and visually impaired, and the behaviorally and emotionally impaired, before federal mandates.
Angel developed the state's first public school program for the hearing impaired in Gaston. A national model, the program is still in operation.
She also helped establish the state's first teacher certification program for visually impaired children in Gaston County.
Gaston's exceptional-children's building is named for Angel. In 2002, she received the N.C. Exceptional Children's Distinguished Service Award.
The family will receive friends 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia and Friday 10a.m. -noon at Bryant Funeral Home, 105 W. Main St., in Franklin. A graveside service will be at noon at Woodlawn Cemetery in Franklin. Make memorials to the Gaston County Education Foundation, Ruth Angel Fund, P.O. Box 1397, Gastonia, NC 28053-1397; First United Methodist Church, 190 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28052; or Hospice of Gaston County, P.O. Box 3984, Gastonia, NC 28054.