Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Lorene Rutherford

Lorene Rutherford was born Myrtle Lorene Dellinger in Petty, Texas, on September 12, 1908. Rutherford’s full birth name was found in the Texas death index at and in Who’s Who of American Women, 1983–1984 which profiled her daughter Jo Ann. The birth information is from the Social Security Applications and Claims Index, also at

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Rutherford was the only child of Charles Sidney, a bookkeeper, and Pearl. Also in the household was Rutherford’s maternal grandmother, Julia Bruffett. They resided in Roxton, Texas.

Rutherford was the oldest of four sisters in the 1920 census. The family of six lived in Justice, Texas. The Paris News (Texas), May 10, 1942, said Rutherford’s art training began “in the public school classes at Oak Cliff High School in Dallas, taught by Mrs. Nellie Clement.” Rutherford said she inherited her talent from her father.

The Paris News, March 2, 1999 said Rutherford married Newton Franklin Rutherford in Roxton, Texas, on October 17, 1926. The 1930 census recorded the couple in Petty, Texas on Main Street. After the birth of her second daughter, Rutherford started weekly commercial art instruction from A. J. Swindell in Greenville. Rutherford continued her training at the Art Institute in Dallas, where she studied life drawing under Olin Travis and fashion sketching with Mrs. Harriet Grandstaff.

Rutherford’s early commercial work involved drawings for advertising and department stores. Later, she met Ellen Connor, a writer, and they produced Classie Addie, Classified Ad Fan, which ran from December 11, 1938 to May 16, 1940. The panel was syndicated first by Publishers Press Features followed by Agnes A. Kelleher. Rutherford and Connor also produced the strip, Snaggle Tooth and Little Ruth, in 1940.

Freelance artist Rutherford continued to be a Petty resident according to the 1940 census. She, her husband and two daughters, Mary and Jo Ann, lived on Main Street.

During the second World War Rutherford worked at Perkins Brothers store and Camp Maxey. The 1957 Paris, Texas city directory listing said Rutherford was the assistant credit manager at Ayres Dry Goods.

Rutherford passed away February 28, 1999, at the Heritage Care Center in Paris, Texas, according to the Paris News. She was laid to rest at the Forest Hill Cemetery

—Alex Jay


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