Ruth Houston is 2014 Tyler County Dogwood Festival Parade Marshal

Tyler County Dogwood Festival Executive Director Buck Hudson, has announced that Ruth Houston will serve as Parade Marshal for the 2014 Dogwood Parade. Hudson commented, "The Board selected Mrs. Houston in recognition of her efforts and commitment to the education and development of the youth of East Texas."

Born Ruth Arlee Ratcliff, Mrs. Houston was raised in Polk County, Texas. She graduated from Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Music Education and did post-graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin and Stephen F. Austin State University. She married husband Melvin Houston and moved to Tyler County in 1967 thinking the move would be a wonderful springboard toward opportunities in "larger" cities. The couple fell deeply in love with the people of Woodville and Tyler County and before they realized it, had been here twenty-six years.

Ruth Houston served as a music teacher and choir director for 42 years, retiring from Port Arthur I.S.D. in 2001. She was employed by Woodville I.S.D. from 1967 until 1993, where her students consistently excelled in musical arts competitions. Over the years, she served as a board member for the Region X Texas Music Educators Association, Tyler County Teachers Association and Texas Conference of the United Methodist Choir. She directed countless school musicals and "After School Specials" and worked with many musical organizations throughout the county and region.

She and Coach Houston raised sons Melvin, Martin and Michael while living in Tyler County, and the entire family became involved in the Dogwood Festival, assisting with and participating in the parade, historical play and coronation ceremony. Mrs. Houston sang "Trees" during the opening ceremony of the coronation for many years and will return to the Amphitheater stage this year to sing once again.
Mrs. Houston currently resides in Port Arthur and serves as a consultant for school music programs. She serves as music director for McCabe Roberts Avenue United Methodist Church and co-director of the Port Arthur Area Children's Choir. She also spends time trying to keep up with and enjoy her four beautiful grandchildren.

Mrs. Houston will lead the 71st Annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival Parade Saturday, April 5, beginning at 2 p.m. Parade entry forms may be obtained via the Web at