When Oklahoma City boutique owner Ruth Meyers went to the clothing market in New York and dined at Tavern on the Green or 21 Club, people would turn and gaze at her as if she were a movie star, said one longtime employee.
“Ruth had a presence,” Charlet Sauls said. “She loved life … the fashion industry … being out … late-night dinners and Champagne. She was always impeccably dressed, and always wore heels and sunglasses.”
Sauls said Meyers’ winning knack for selecting and discovering women’s attire as much as qualifies her as a superstar in the fashion industry.
Sauls raves of Meyers’ discovery of designers such as Michael Vollbracht, when he was starting out, or selection of a simple printed jersey dress that, to Sauls’ and others’ surprise, sold like crazy back home in Oklahoma City.
Meyers died at her home Sunday night, following a short illness.
“She was an unbelievable woman,” said Sauls, who worked as her personal assistant for 28 years. “The world will be different without her.”
Meyers in 1975 opened Ruth Meyers Inc. at 6471 Avondale Drive in Nichols Hills Plaza, where she worked until three years ago when Cindi Shelby, a former 21-year employee, bought the store.
“Ruth was my mentor and like a second mom to me,” Shelby said Monday. “She was a champion of women civically and personally, and truly ahead of her time as a woman having her own business.”
A Clinton native, Meyers attended the University of Oklahoma and, before opening her own store, logged 12 years as a sportswear buyer at long-gone Kerr’s Department Store downtown and later worked as vice president of Balliets when it was owned by Buddy Rodgers.
Meyers launched her store as a partnership but became the sole owner eight years later. She once had a store downtown and one in Edmond.
A former regional director of the International Fashion Group, she brought many designers, including Pamela Dennis and Pauline Trigere, to Oklahoma City for trunk shows and benefit fashion shows. In 1985, she and Shelby were the first to bring Donna Karan to Oklahoma City. In 1987, she opened the first Louis Feraud boutique in her store.
Meyers served on the board of Ballet Oklahoma and Children’s Medical Research Institute and was the Redlands Council of Girl Scouts’ Woman of the Year in 1992, as well as The Journal Record’s Corporate Woman of the Year in 1986. She received the Red Rose Award for her support of the Junior Hospitality Club.
“She was always right there to say, ‘Yes, I’ll help,’” friend Ann Alspaugh said. “She was a big promoter of community and charitable things — all of them.”
In past news reports, Meyers attributed much of her success to living the Golden Rule and heeding the advice of and examples set by her parents and grandparents. Her father always told her: “There’s nothing you can’t do,” she said. Her grandmother owned a small gift shop in Los Angeles, where Meyers said she gained her keen business sense.
Meyers’ survivors include five children: A.G. Meyers and Chris Meyers, of Oklahoma City; Walker Wilson, of Houston; Ricki Caudill, of Foreman, Ark.; and Linda Duffy Fitzgerald, of Malakoff, Texas.
Out of respect for their mother, the family isn’t sharing her birth date, A.G. Meyers said.
“She never shared her age, even with her doctors,” he said.
CONTRIBUTING: Special Correspondent Linda Miller
Memorial services for Ruth Meyers are tentatively set for 11 a.m. Friday at Christ the King Catholic Church, where she was a member. Hahn-Cook/Street & Draper Funeral Directors is handling arrangements.