Ruey H. Witten Fellowship Fund
The Ruey H. Witten fellowship honors the accomplishments of Ruey Hermandollar Witten (1902-1999) as a pianist, singer, business woman, community leaders, piano teacher, and choral instructor. The award is made to a music teacher who is pursuing a post-baccalaureate degree in music education. The endowed fund was established by Ruey Witten's family in December 2000.
Ruey Witten was a young woman at a time when every well-brought-up girl was expected to play the piano. Her wedding announcement declared, “The bride is a highly respected and accomplished young lady.” She continued to play the piano throughout her life at social gatherings and church, and she taught choral singing at several one-room country schools. Ruey Witten also gave private piano lessons to children. She was a sales representative for Jenkins Music Company in Kansas City, for which she also provided the lessons that were supplied with any purchase of an electric organ.
The Smithsonian Institutions' exhibit on the 300th anniversary of the piano, “Piano 300.” States that “the most accomplished musician in town, the piano teacher often led the charge to raise and broaden standards of education” in the 1920s. Ruey Witten was a leader in campaigns to establish a county library in Daviess County, Missouri, and to pass numerous school bonds. She also was proud to say that many of her children and grandchildren were involved in educational professions.
In 1989, at the age of 87, Ruey H. Witten realized a lifelong dream by completing her college degree from North Central Missouri College in Trenton, Missouri. She was married for 55 years to Herbert Witten. They raised five children — Pauline, Charles, Maurice, Caroline, and Claire — and had 12 grandchildren.