Ruth Thompson of Ruth's Cakery is on many minds this time of year. For some residents, it's hard to think of Christmas without one of her confections coming to mind - especially her gingerbread houses. Enjoy warm thoughts of the community champion who has passed on - and then pull out a recipe and a cookie sheet. She'd like that.
Below is an excerpt from an article I wrote for BeachBlvd. Magazine on Key Players in the Gulf Coast Arts Scene, in September 2011. I probably wrote it a few weeks before Ruth's death on September 13th. She was one of four people I profiled for the article. The others were Eric Zala (then director of the Mary C.), Linda Bloom (then director of the Walter Anderson Museum) and Denny Mecham (then director of the George Ohr Museum). Ruth fit right in with such illustrious company.
I have no idea where the "glory-land seat" reference came from, although I was writing about four inspiring people who worked minor miracles on a daily basis. But I can be fairly sure that if Ruth's enjoying that glory-land seat now, her hands are still busy and her heart is wide open.
Save another glory-land seat for Ruth Thompson, of The Arts, Hancock County. On the west side of the coast, she’s known as the go-to person for artists seeking help or advice. The former owner of Ruth’s Cakery in Bay St. Louis, her unique business hosted a working art gallery. In addition to creating confections, Thompson spent off-hours painting and making pottery in her on-site studio.
Katrina dealt Thompson a triple-whammy blow, destroying her home, business and studio. Rallying quickly, she worked with The Arts founder Gwen Impson for over two years as Arts Recovery Coordinator. Thompson organized shows outside the devastated region for local artists, networked with agencies and arts groups around the country to obtain art supplies, and “held hands” with artists who were applying for grant funding to reestablish their livelihoods.
Thompson later served as president of The Arts, and today, manages the Hancock Chamber Art Gallery. Named one of ten Hancock Outstanding Citizens for 2011, Thompson says that her husband teases her about her role as artistic mentor.
“Jim thinks I must have a big flashing sign over my head that says ‘INFORMATION,’” she says smiling. “It’s not my job. It’s just what I do.”
Peeps From Our Past