News & Events


Ruth Martha Raymer Cole


During her sixty plus years in Midland, Ruth Martha Raymer Cole was involved with many organizations as a volunteer, some of which were First Presbyterian Church, Midland County Republican Women, Playreaders Club, West Texas Jazz Society, Midland County Library, Museum of the Southwest, Midland Symphony and Guild, League of Women Voters, Children's Service League, and Elementary school tutoring.


Mrs. Cole was born April 23, 1920 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to Mr. And Mrs. E. Eugene Raymer. She was reared and educated in Fond du Lac, and employed by The J. E. Burke Company and Western Inspection & Adjustment Company.


In 1943 she came to Midland, Texas, to marry Art Cole who was at that time stationed at Midland Army Air Field. They were married in the home of Naomi Lancaster, a longtime supporter of the arts in Midland. During the war years she worked for Fire Companies Adjustment Bureau and Stubbeman, McRae, Sealy & Laughlin.


After overseas duty for Art and at the request of several Midlanders, they returned to Midland and Midland Community Theatre, Inc. was then founded. The theatre eventually had a phenomenal growth, two innovative buildings were built, MCT and Art became nationally and internationally recognized. He was elected President of the International Amateur Theatre Association, a position which "necessitated" their attending theatrical festivities and meetings in Europe for many years.


They retired after thirty-five years. In their honor, the theatre building was named "Cole Theatre."  She then became employed by Cibolo Gas, Inc., for seven years.


Mrs. Cole died Sunday, January 1, 2012. A memorial service will be scheduled for late January or early February this year. Details for the service and reception will be published when known.


Mrs. Cole was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Peg and brother Gene. She is survived by her son, Michael A. Cole of Houston, her daughter, Martha Runkle and husband James D. Runkle of Albuquerque, NM, granddaughter Jennifer Somuk of Albuquerque, granddaughter Claire Cole and her husband Dan Mirsky of Boston, Mass., great granddaughter, Bailey Somuk of Albuquerque and several nieces and nephews.


The foregoing was penned by Ruth a few years ago, a bit dry, self-effacing and modest.


As her children we knew her as anything but dry. She could cry at the drop of a hat, laugh with abandon and tears of delight, revel in the magic of jazz, take an editor to task for grammatical errors while having him over for cocktails, sell a man a car that didn't run, chat up a President's wife to her granddaughter's astonishment, converse with the Dorsey brothers at the Rainbow Room in New York while her shy and reticent husband stayed behind at his table (that's the story we heard), and always serve as the foremost booster of the city she loved without reservation, Midland.


Her contributions to MCT, seen and unseen, were invaluable in its evolution and the acclaim which came to it here and abroad. For years and years people would drop in her home for drinks and conversation after 5:00, our home was always open. You would never think her shy as she so readily engaged visitors in conversation and found delight in sharing a story of Midland or in extending an invitation to "come over afterwards and I'll make us Brandy Alexanders."


An intrepid gardener, even in to her 90th year, she would venture out into 100-degree heat to tend her roses which greeted people as they drove past her West Golf Course home. Whether it was roses, her children, the Theatre, or friends and the children of friends she always took care to nurture, support and encourage them. In equal or greater measure she joyously relished their accomplishments and delighted in their appreciation of her. Her many friends—who assisted her in chores she could not easily manage and were a constant source of support and kindness—sustained her in love and her affinity for the community. For all of this she had a grateful heart.


A life long Republican she took delight in conversing with Log Cabin Republican delegates at State conventions and could not understand the intolerance of gays or opposition to a woman's right to choose. At the same time she was not without intolerance for what she perceived as mediocrity, bad grammar, and behavior of which she did not approve—a paradox evidenced in humanity. Behind it at all there was a ferocity about her that sustained great and consistent effort and the achievement of excellence. The light of that ferocity was not easily dimmed, and now may its example live on. Oops, the sentence ended with a preposition. Sorry Mother, we could not resist the temptation.


Fond thanks to Tudy Lambdin in Midland and Lana Hutchinson and the wonderful ladies of Andrew House in Albuquerque, NM., who made all the difference to Ruth in the loving and attentive care she received from them.

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3600 N. GARFIELD • MIDLAND, TX 79705


3600 N. GARFIELD · MIDLAND, TX 79705-6399 · 432.685.4526

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