Rose-Mary Rumbley

“I love being here…My son walked me to the Dining Room and looked at the menu.  ‘Goodness!’ he exclaimed. ‘It’s fabulous!’”

– Rose-Mary Rumbley

“I love being here…My son walked me to the Dining Room and looked at the menu.  ‘Goodness!’ he exclaimed. ‘It’s fabulous!’”

– Rose-Mary Rumbley.

Let’s be clear – in 10 years of writing The Tradition’s Inspiring People series, I have never featured an individual more than once. But when it’s Rose-Mary Rumbley, that’s called for. She always has new ways of inspiring. And her reputation as an actress (she was in the movie “Paper Moon”), speaker, humorist, and writer spreads far beyond Dallas. When Rose-Mary recently became a resident of The Tradition-Lovers Lane Community, the Executive Director of a Tradition retirement community in Houston exclaimed with envy, “You got her? Oh my!”

The current residents at her new Community are certainly grateful that they “got her”—a new light in their midst. It is mid-afternoon on a Thursday in the cozy Bistro, where many residents are gathered—talking and drinking coffee. I coax Rose-Mary to leave her table of friends and join me for a private visit. I promise to bring her back.

Our talk at a nearby table centers around her family’s traditions (we like traditions around here) – and her life today.

Holiday Traditions – Separate, Then Together
I ask, did her family celebrate special traditions during the Holidays? “When my husband, Jack, was living, we actually were often separate during the Holidays,” she said. “He was a drummer, playing percussion, and during Christmas and Easter, he accompanied choral works in churches. And he always played for New Year’s Eve events,” she said. “We were both entertainers, and I had my own programs at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we always went to church together on Sundays and taught Sunday school.” “You taught together?” I ask. “Yes, together!”

Traditions – Honoring Family
With her beloved Jack now deceased, their children – Phil and Jill – celebrate their own family traditions. “Phil’s wife, Karen, brings our family to their home in Tyler to help celebrate holidays and make them special for their 33-year-old child, Scotty, who is developmentally challenged and autistic,” says Rose-Mary. “Thanksgiving and Christmas center around Scotty, and holidays are very important for him. We’re all behind Scotty – we love him!”

Her other child, Jill Beam (a former Inspiring Person here) and her husband Ken live in Weatherford and Alpine. To honor her famous and much-beloved mother, Jill pulled together a colossal birthday party at First Baptist Church in Dallas when Rose-Mary recently celebrated her 90th (!). “I think she invited 1,000 people!” she said with a laugh.

Life Today
“I love being here,” says Rose-Mary of The Tradition. “My son walked me to the Dining Room and looked at the menu. ‘Goodness!’ he exclaimed. ‘It’s fabulous!’” She loves the food— especially the homemade soups.

“I enter all the great social activities that I can,” she said, adding that a fall has made getting around difficult, so she doesn’t participate in the planned outings. Well, except for the time she spoke during her famous bus “tour of Dallas.” Having written seven books on the subject of Dallas (all on Amazon), she’s qualified! The Tradition’s Founder and CEO Jonathan Perlman was aboard this latest tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. Rose-Mary recalls that years ago, Jonathan would say repeatedly to her, “You need to run for Governor!” And, yes, I can see why.

Not only does Rose-Mary participate in the social activities at The Tradition, but she is also the presenter of many of them. She pulls from the innumerable speeches she has given over the years, and she has spoken here about the State Fair and recently gave a history of Thanksgiving. She says, “I make these speeches seasonal, with purpose and meaning.”

For years a knowledgeable Bible teacher, she also teaches Bible study at The Tradition on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every week.

Looking back, she says, “The only people who are happy are those who accept God’s plan. I had marvelous parents, a wonderful husband and kids, and a super career. Thank you, Lord!”

And Rose-Mary Rumbley, we thank you!

Linda Faulkner Johnston – The Tradition

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