Ruth King Muse was born on June 15, 1926, to her late mother Mary Katherine Braxton and grandmother Margaret Priestly-Garnett; in Church Hill, Richmond, Virginia. She was the youngest sibling of ten children; all of whom are pre-deceased: Mildred, Samuel, Blanche Pinkie, David, Pearl, Lula, Mary Katherine, Cora Lee, and George.
In 1943, Ruth graduated from Maggie L. Walker High School and soon after migrated north to Waterbury, Connecticut. She worked in the war plant making missiles for World War II until the cessation of the war.
Ruth relocated to New York City, New York in 1949 with her siblings in Harlem. There she worked for the famous composer Charles Ives as his personal secretary organizing his sheet music and cleaning as his health was failing due to dementia. She worked for Ives until his death in 1954. Then in the summer of 1956, she gave birth to her daughter Janice Doloris. Ruth was a strong woman of faith and she was confirmed a Lutheran in 1960. She was a member of Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Rego Park, New York. As a member there, she was the President of the Ladies Aide Society.