Mary Ruth Barnes

Mary Ruth Barnes has recently retired as Director of Estate and Asset Services for Oklahoma, as well as, the Branson, Joplin and Springfield, Missouri markets and the Wichita, Kansas markets of the High Plains division.  During her tenure with the American Cancer Society, Mary Ruth has been recognized as the Rookie of the Year in 2011 for Region 1 and National Rookie of the Year for the Planned Giving Business Unit for 2011. She was Top Performer and top in the Nation raising 5.8 million for cáncer research in 2012.  In 2013, she was top Performer for the High Plains Region again reaching 4.8 million in cáncer research. In both 2014 and 2015 she raised collectively over 8 million for cancer research. Mary Ruth joined the American Cancer Society after being Director of Development for the Advancement Office of a regional university, East Central University. She was responsible for all major fundraising activities leading to one of the largest donations in history to the university, over $8 million. Recently the gift at ECU was made into the Lanoy Educational Building after the donors, Mrs. Barnes, developed with a planned gift. Previously, Mary Ruth was the Executive Director of Valley View Foundation, a foundation for a regional hospital, and received the southwest regional AHP Gerry Gunnin Professional Fundraising award in 2006.

After graduating with a Bachelor from North Carolina State with high honors and a Masters from Montana State, Mrs. Barnes taught high school and college English, Art and Computer Science for 14 years. Mary Ruth was a Chickasaw Dynamic Women top ten artists 2011, 2012 and 2013. Mary Ruth had her short story and watercolor art featured in the Spring issue of the journal of Chickasaw History and Culture Ishtunowa. She was also honored as a Chickasaw Artist in the July, 2015 issue of Distinctly Oklahoma magazine.  Her watercolors are on display at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, the new Artesian Hotel, the Davis, OK Welcome Center and the Capital offices of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma City. She was selected as Chickasaw Dynamic Woman of the year for 2015.  She is extremely active in her community through Rotary ( a member since 1996), P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), and Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumni Association. She is also an avid equestrian and her and husband live on a horse ranch in south central Oklahoma. They have two sons, Wiley and Selby Barnes, Both sons work for the Chickasaw Nation and they live on the horse ranch with with Mrs. Barnes.

"Art has been a heritage I learned from my Chickasaw grandfather, who was a Chickasaw story teller.  He would often paint beautiful pictures in my mind as he taught me about love and caring, enkindling nature as the basis for love.  My art is my passage into my history and my culture.  I paint to revive the stories he told me and give a continuation of my culture to my children and my grandchildren.  With each story he told me, I try to retell it in my images of the horse, the buffalo, the white dog, the eagle, and the turtle. It is a time for me to bring honor to all the Chickasaw people by creating art that is more than something just seen; art is color depicted from my heart and visually displayed on canvas to honor our forefathers! It is my legacy and my continuum in being the best Native American I can be".
Her Artist Statement