Fort Worth Star-Telegram Bud Kennedy column
Jan 13, 2013 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When she called, we knew her by first name.
"It's Ruth!" some editor would shout, punching the hold button and waving for a higher-ranking editor.
On that rare occasion when Ruth Carter Stevenson called, we knew she would ask good questions and expect good answers.
In a city run by strong women and generous families, she was one of the strongest and most generous, building on her father's legacy with her own sense of art and style but with every bit of Star-Telegram founder Amon Carter's determination and devotion to Fort Worth.
When she called, she was always right.
When she spoke as the community's conscience, opposing the Cultural District parking fee or a construction project that might block the view of downtown, she was right.
When she chided us, she was right.
(She often said she wished she had kept the newspaper when her family sold it in 1974.)
Just as often, she called and wrote with compliments and thanks, and handwritten invitations to join her at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Of all the stories told since her passing Monday, the one I've heard most is from people who met a nice woman in the gallery and had no idea she was the Ruth Carter Stevenson.
"Ruth was an extraordinary woman," CBS Face the Nation host and anchor Bob Schieffer said Friday after the memorial at St. Patrick Cathedral.
"She really saw her role as being more than just another person. She really tried to do good in the world, and she did it with such vision."
Among her many gifts, she donated in 1979 to build TCU's arts and communication building, and in 2005 to upgrade the building for the new Schieffer School of Journalism.
"She lived by the Bible verse [Luke 12:48] about how, 'from those to whom much is given, much is expected,'" Schieffer said, paraphrasing.
We forget that she also was standing right alongside her father in his celebrity moments, from leading the TCU band at the Sugar Bowl to hosting Will Rogers or Bob Hope at the Fort Worth Club, where her father's collection of Frederic Remington and Charles Russell art hung on a men's floor off-limits to her until she was 21.
In a 1966 catalog, she wrote that the museum reflects her father's "courage, determination and ambition."
In the Remington and Russell characters, she wrote, he saw "honesty, fortitude and hope, as well as tenacity and 'stick-to-it-iveness' against difficulty and often insurmountable odds."
Sounds a lot like Ruth Carter Stevenson.
Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538.
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