Ruth Phelps Mickel
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Funeral services for Mrs. Ruth Phelps Mickel, 90, of Monroe, will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, April 27, 2012, at First Presbyterian Church, where she was a longtime active member, with the Reverend Dr. Bruce K. Austin and the Reverend Dr. Allison Moody officiating. Interment will follow at Riverview Cemetery under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road, Monroe.
Mrs. Mickel passed away Wednesday, April 25, 2012. "Miss Ruth," the widow of the late Toufick "T." Mickel was born on March 8, 1922, in Gonzales, Florida, the first of five children to Ella Yount Phelps and James Cochran Phelps.
Miss Ruth grew up in New Orleans where she attended the Algiers Methodist Church, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Martin Behrman High School and attended Loyola University in New Orleans. In 1939, Ruth was cast as Alexandra in the New Orleans premier of The Little Foxes, directed by Lillian Hellman herself. Upon the death of her father, Ruth went to work for Louisiana Power and Light to help her mother support her four younger siblings.
During WWII Ruth began her career in radio broadcasting as a staff announcer at WDSU in New Orleans. Her early morning listeners knew her as the "Chicory Chick." In addition to reporting on items of local interest and Mardi Gras events, Ruth often interviewed noted individuals such as Liberace and General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle. Ahead of her time as a female broadcaster, Ruth also announced sporting events such as the New Orleans Open golf tournament. She continued her radio broadcast career at WKRG in Mobile, WNOE in New Orleans and KNOE in Monroe.
Ruth left her position at KNOE in 1949 to marry local businessman T. Mickel who had taken note of her pleasant voice as she broadcast "The Palace Shopper" on KNOE radio. They reared five children together. She returned to college in 1970 and received her Bachelor's Degree from Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM) in 1973. After her graduation, Miss Ruth worked as a librarian for Glenwood Hospital and for the Ouachita Parish Public Library and sold World Book Encyclopedias. She later returned to broadcasting as the Senior Reporter for KNOE-TV. In that capacity she interviewed Charlton Heston. She also worked as a docent for the Biedenharn Foundation giving tours of Elsong Gardens and The Bible Research Center.
Mrs. Mickel served as President of the Georgia Tucker PTA, Worthy Grand Matron of the Louise L. McGuire Chapter of the Eastern Star, District Deputy and Poet Laureate of the Louisiana Eastern Star, President of the Women of First Presbyterian Church, and President of Church Women United. She was a member of the Social Order of the Beauceant, the De Nova Book Club, the Monroe Garden Club, the League of Women Voters, the Louisiana State Poetry Society and the American Mother's Club. In 1976, she ran for State Representative, and she was chosen as Louisiana's Mother of the year in 1995.
Mrs. Mickel was preceded in death by her daughter, Martha Ann, in 1984, and her husband, T., in 1990. She is survived by her daughter, Diana Mickel Austin and son-in-law, Rev. Dr. Bruce K. Austin of McKinney, TX; her sons, Joseph Thomas Mickel, J.D. of Lafayette; Timothy Joseph Mickel, M.D., and daughter-in-law, Mrs. Stephanie Mickel of Monroe; daughter, Sarah Katherine Mickel of Bossier City; nine grandchildren: Jennifer Austin Bettis and husband, Hal Bettis, Jr.; Seth Mickel Austin and wife, Lara Austin; Thomas Joseph Mickel, Matthew Scott Mickel, Jennifer Ellen Mickel, John Timothy Mickel, Rebecca Brooks Mickel, Katherine Key Mickel, David Timothy Mickel; five great-grandchildren: Hunter, Hannah, Charlotte Ruth, and Fischer Bettis; and Benjamin Austin, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Friday from 12:00 Noon until service time at First Presbyterian Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to the Benevolence Fund of First Presbyterian Church of Monroe.
Online Registry/Condolences: www.mulhearnfuneralhome.com
Mulhearn Funeral Home
Sterlington Rd., Monroe, LA
Published in The News Star on Apr. 26, 2012