Alumni Couple Celebrate First Kiss, 66th Wedding Anniversary
Posted on Thursday, October 22, 2009 [11:32 PM]
LWC 1942 alumni Cortez and Ruth Butler of Edmonton,
Ky., stand at the location where they shared their first
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Two Lindsey Wilson College
alumni took a walk down memory lane Thursday afternoon on the A.P.
Ruth and Cortez Butler, both of Edmonton, Ky., drove to Columbia
with their children,
Tez Butler and Connie Coleman, also of Edmonton, to celebrate
their wedding anniversary, which is Oct. 23.
The four celebrated 66 years of matrimony at Mulligan's
restaurant. But before lunch, the Butlers showed their children
where the couple shared their first kiss.
The kiss happened on an evening during the 1941-42 school year
on what were once front basement steps leading into what is now the
L.R. McDonald Administration Building. The front basement entrance
to the 106-year-old building was closed more than 25 years ago, but
a plaque hangs over the spot, commemorating the name of the
White was president of the college when the Butlers were
Ruth Sewell Butler came to Lindsey Wilson from Waterview in
Cumberland County, Ky., and Cortez Butler came to LWC from
Tompkinsville in Monroe County. Back then, the college had but four
buildings: the Administration Building, the Gymnasium (which
including Hundley Dining Hall in the basement), the Girls'
Dormitory (now Phillips Hall) and the Boys' Dormitory (which later
became Chandler Hall before being razed in the early 1980s).
"I remember eating at the table with him one time," Ruth
recalled Thursday morning. "Now the first year we were just good
friends, and the second year we dated."
Cortez played basketball during his two years at LWC, first for
Arthur Gullette, who founded LWC's basketball program; and then for
John McQueary. In addition to two years on the basketball team,
Cortez was also vice president of their 98-member sophomore class
and was 1941 May Day king.
Ruth was crowned May Day queen in 1942, and she was also a
member of the Pep Club, Library Club, Pine Cone yearbook staff and
During their Thursday visit, the Butlers fondly recalled several
Lindsey Wilson giants. In addition to White, they discussed the
late physics professor and dean Asa Shelton, English professor Mary
Meade and history professor Noma Dix Winston.
They also remembered coming out of the old Rialto movie
theater, , which was on Columbia's downtown square, on
the afternoon of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, to learn that the U.S. naval
base Pearl Harbor had been attacked by Japan's air and naval
"I don't remember the movie, but I just remember Sunday
afternoon coming out of the movie and people were yelling," Ruth
Ruth said she and the other residents of the Girls' Dormitory
pleaded with the hall's matron, Jettie Josephine Duncan, to allow
them to listen to the radio that night past the 10 p.m., the time
when all lights and radios were turned off.
"We were naïve enough to think the war was going to be over that
night," she said. "We wanted to hear the war end. … (Duncan) had
lived through World War I and she said, 'Oh children -- children
you have no idea what this means. Most of the boys over in that
building (the Boys' Dormitory) will be going to war.' We had no
idea what we were in for."
After graduation from Lindsey Wilson, Cortez enlisted in the
Naval Air Force and got his wings.
"I couldn't drive a car, but I could fly a plane," he said.
After Cortez received his commission, he and Ruth were married
in New Orleans on his way to an assignment in Florida. Cortez
served in the South Pacific Theater until the war finally did end
Cortez continued his basketball career at Tennessee Polytechnic
Institute, now known as Tennessee Tech. After college, Cortez
taught and coached basketball at the former Marrow Bone (Ky.) High
School, and then taught and coached basketball at Metcalfe County
High School before retiring as that school's guidance
"We loved it here and got so many good memories here," Ruth