Whether talking about Homer, Jane Austen, Christopher Columbus, or anything related to Dallas, speaker Rose-Mary Rumbley presents a cornucopia of facts and fun. Recently at The Tradition-Prestonwood senior living community, she wove humor throughout her informative talk, “Books You’ll Never Read.” Her well-placed "zingers" caused even the most restrained to let out belly-laughs, which is one reason Rumbley is among the most sought-after speakers in the city.
"My mother and father were both funny, and I grew up laughing with them around the dinner table," said Rumbley.
She also grew up adoring “the stage.” “When I was three, my mother gave me ‘expression lessons.’ My teacher would give me poems that I would memorize, and then recite before an audience. I loved it!”
This love of performance led her to major in Speech and Theater at the University of North Texas, where she met her husband, Jack Rumbley, a drummer with the One O’Clock Lab Band. After they graduated, and even after two babies, she would perform at Casa Manana and the Dallas Summer Musicals, with her husband playing in the orchestra pit.
"My mother and father were both funny, and I grew up laughing with them around the dinner table."
Soon, word about her talent got out, and New York and Hollywood came to her, unusual for any budding actress. She subsequently made several movies, including “Paper Moon,” where she played Tatum O’Neal’s aunt.
Her ensuing life reveals not only a superb acting talent but also a very fine mind. While teaching theater at Dallas Baptist University, she obtained her PhD in Communications and Theater from UNT. “It took me 10 years!” she said.
A voracious reader (“I don’t watch television”), she is never lacking for speech subject matter. Writing speeches expanded to writing several books, including The Unauthorized History of Dallas and What! No Chili!! about food festivals in Texas.
Today at almost 80, her schedule would
exhaust most twenty-somethings.
Today at almost 80, her schedule would exhaust most twenty-somethings. Rumbley speaks often four times a day and also finds time to teach theater at the West Dallas Community School. There, she writes the plays in which the children perform.
It is no wonder that this talented, “positive!” and funny woman prompts a frequent refrain from fans: “When I think of you, I always smile.”
WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ROSE-MARY RUMBLEY:
Rose-Mary Rumbley donated her personal collection of books and scripts to Dallas Baptist University. Visit the Rumbley Room on the first floor in the Collins Learning Center.
BOOKS BY ROSE-MARY RUMBLEY:
A Century of Class: Public Education in Dallas
The Unauthorized History of Dallas
Strolling Through the Park: The History of the Dallas Park Board
Dear Santa, Thanks for the Piano
What! No Chili!!
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Rose-Mary with Tradition Senior Living Founder and CEO Jonathan Perlman.
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