Obituary Listings

Ruth Campbell Smith Ferris

March 9, 1909 July 13, 1998
Ruth Campbell Smith Ferris
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Obituary for Ruth Campbell Smith Ferris
In 1995 Ruth Cambell Smith Ferris received the Outstanding Service Award from the Altus Public School Foundation.

This award culminated years of public service to the Altus Community. Mrs. Ferris was director of Public Relations for the Altus Schools from 1955 - 1963.

Born in Eldorado, Oklahoma, March 9th, 1909, Mrs. Ferris was the daughter of Jackson County Pioneers B.F. and Netta Smith. She accompanied her sister, Emily Smith, to Oklahoma College for Women in Chickasha at age 16, taught school at Midway near Eldorado and entered OU planning to study violin, but fell in love with journalism and her future husband, the late District Judge Weldon Ferris. After graduation and marriage in 1931, Mrs. Ferris was Continuity Head, then Assistant Manager of KOMA radio. When Judge Ferris was elected County Attorney in 1934, she wrote special features and sold advertising for the Altus Times Democrat, She also established Community Concert programs in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

During World War II she was an associate professor of journalism at OU and Public Relations Assistant to Dr. George L. Cross, president of OU.

Returning to Altus, Mrs. Ferris was the first Promotions Director when KWHW was founded. In 1955 she was given a teaching position in journalism and became Director of Public Relations for Altus Schools. Her journalism classes at Altus High won many awards for yearbook and newspaper publications under her direction.

In 1960 she established one of the firstSchool TV broadcasting stations for secondary students in the US, taking advantage of the new cable TV, ACTV requirements. She was Vice President of the National School Public Relations Association, making talks across the country on the value of school public relations. She was first and last a teacher who loved and inspired her students to do their best.

An ardent Democrat, Mrs. Ferris was vice-chairman of the old 7th District Democratic Party and was delegate to the 1936, 1940, 1944 and 1948 National Conventions.

Her numerous awards include the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement Award OU School of Journalism, By-Liner Award, Oklahoma City Chapter Women in Communications, lifetime membership in the FFA and That Altus Band, and she was Kiwanis Mother of the Year.

Mrs. Ferris is survived by her daughter, Emily Annette Covich of Austin, TX; her grandsons, Daniel G. Covich of Austin, TX and Richard Ryan of New York City. She is also survived by her step-granddaughter, Lisa Tolman of Austin, TX; and her four step-great-grandchildren.

9:00 AM

First United Methodist Church

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