Ruth Weber was born to Arthur and Freda Weber in Achilles, Kansas on a cold November day in 1922 in an area of Northwest Kansas where the winter snows were deep and the spring green quickly turned to brown as the dry summer ensued. As a child, Ruth dreamed big dreams, always seeing herself as a successful business person. Her father asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she replied that she might want to join the circus. He said, “NO that will not do,” so broadcasting seemed the next best choice.
Ruth also considered becoming a song writer, which fully attracted her to the radio business. When not many women were hired in sales in 1949, she started at a radio station in Goodland, Kansas as a script agent. In 1952, Ruth faced life as a single parent back when not many existed, and in spite of it all raised her two sons Dean Petersen and Ron Petersen, Sr., who would, in a few years, join her in Carthage to help her further her successful achievements in radio and cable television. Her radio pursuit took her from Goodland to Garden City to Dodge City, Kansas where she put down roots and expanded her knowledge not only in radio, but in television. The responsibility in TV programming and radio and television sales management allowed her to meet George Kolpin who worked for CBS in New York. George was later to become her second husband in the early 60’s. George shared a lifelong dream of owning a radio station, and in October of 1963, the two became owners of 1490 KDMO-AM to be joined by an FM frequency of 104.9 for KRGK-FM which became KMXL-FM on 95.1 in 1989, when her son Ron took possession of the stations. George passed away in the early 1980s. Her son Dean helped her put the first cable TV system in Carthage and continued in starting and managing, maintaining and building a number of cable systems throughout Southwest Missouri. Dean retired when they sold to Cox Cable in the late 1990s. Ruth later met Dick Rubison and after several months of courtship, they married and he sadly passed away in 2012.
Both Ruth’s achievements in business and charitable works have been recognized with many awards given her since the 1980s. To mention only a portion of her awards – Ruth was inducted into the National Cable Television Pioneers Association in 1988, and in 1992 received the coveted international Athena Award. Also she was first to be recognized with the Pioneer Broadcasters Award from MSSU in 1997 and in 2006 she was named the winner of the Community Service Award of the Daughters of the American Revolution as well as the Richard M. Webster Citizen of the Year Award by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce.
She defines the word “lady” with her dignity, grace and femininity. She is a warm, generous lady who has given freely to Carthage over the years. Perhaps the most visible sign of her community spirit is the Peace Star atop the Jasper County Courthouse.
The most important advice comes when she says “do not let go of your dreams”. In life many people will almost be at their goal and then throw in the towel. If you persevere and keep the faith to continue, you will get to where you projected yourself in your dreams.