Rowene B. ‘Ronnie’ Oltorf


(Jan. 14, 2010)

Rowene B. Oltorf (Ronnie), 86, died Jan. 14, 2010, at the Powell Valley Care Center where she spent the last 3 1/2 years of her life.

She was born Sept. 9, 1923, in Kansas City, Mo., and educated in New York City. During World War II, she worked for the art director at McCann-Erickson Advertising Agency. She moved to Houston in 1949, where she began working at the Museum of Fine Arts and became affectionately known as “Ronnie.” In 1960, she moved to Marlin, Texas, and taught abstract art classes at the Waco Art Center.

Throughout her life she celebrated art, music and literature, led museum docent programs and taught private art classes; she also had her own radio show about “Art and Women in Texas” and began a children's art program at Hillcrest Hospital in Waco Texas.

Her family wrote: “Ronnie was a beautiful woman, gifted and inspired painter. She was well read, had a great wit and was a wonderful storyteller. She lived her life with a jubilant optimism and open-hearted spirit. She will be deeply missed.”

Ronnie is survived by her daughters Kathy Weems of Los Angeles, California; Rowene Weems of Powell; Madeline Jackson (Tommy) of Marlin, Texas; and four grandchildren, Maria and Gianluca Giarrizzo, Eylse Hasenberg and Tyler Jackson.

She is preceded in death by her daughter, Debbie Weems; a sister, Barbara Weisl and her husband, Frank C. Oltorf.

A memorial service will be held at noon on Thursday, Jan. 21, at St. John's Episcopal Church. Following the service, a reception will take place at the church.

Donations in Ronnie's name may be made to the Powell Humane Society, Homesteader Museum or St. John's Episcopal Church.