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2001 Hall of Fame

Ruth Butler

Ruth Butler was born in Huntington to William Freeman Butler and Mary Flizabeth Bryan Butler. She graduated from Marshall College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1940.

William Freeman Butler started the family business, Butler Furniture, about 1907 in a tiny store across the street from where the building now stands on 20th Street.

In 1913, he decided to move the store across the dirt road and built half of the building we see today. The 20th Street Baptist Church now occupies Butler Furniture’s original space.

After Ruth’s father died in 1927, John Butler, Ruth’s brother, took over the business at age I 7. Ruth later set aside her plans to study medicine to help her brother with Butler Furniture.

The brother and sister found much success in their partnership over the following decades until they sold the business and retired in 1987.

A long-time supporter of Marshall University, Ruth has made many generous contributions to the Athletics Department and has established scholarships in several of the university’s schools, including the Marshall University School of Medicine and School of Nursing.

She also can be credited with funding our own Lewis College of Business Executive in Residence Program.


Ronald Lee Hooser

Ronald Lee Hooser was born in Huntington in 1930 and remains an integral resident and an active volunteer in this community.

After graduating high school, Ron chose to serve four years in the U.S. Navy. It was during his service that he married his high-school sweetheart, Helen Hager Adkins.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in geology from Marshall College and began what would be a distinguished 37-year career with R.H. Adkins Drilling Co. Initially, he worked as project geologist and well completion engineer. But Ron’s leadership and vision for the company eventually earned him the honor of being chosen as president and general manager of the company, after its founder retired in 1973.

During Ron’s tenure, R.H. Adkins Companies became one of the state’s largest privately held oil and natural gas production companies. It grew into a 14 corporation, 128-partnership conglomerate.

But the oil and gas industry wasn’t alone in benefitting from Ron’s leadership. For 25 years, he was director of Lincoln National Bank and sat on the board of Bank One, West Virginia, and its predecessor, Key Centurion Bank Shares.

Ron’s life-long commitment to Marshall University remains a prominent fixture in his life. He has served several terms on the boards of directors for the Marshall University Alumni Association, Big Green Scholarship Foundation, and the Marshall University Foundation, of which he was president.


Ed Howard

Ed Howard as born in Beckley, W.V, and graduated from Stratton High School in 1960. In January 1965, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Marshall University.

That same year he started as a management trainee with the downtown Huntington JCPenney store. It didn’t take him long to work his way up. In 1980, after holding a variety of management positions in various stores, Ed wasp promoted to store manager in Dayton.

After several more promotions, Ed was named director of geographic merchandising in the company’s corporate office in 1989. Just a year later, he was elected vice president and director of investor relations.

From there. Ed moved up to president of the southwest region in September 1993 and was appointed to his current position, president of the company’s west region, in 1996.

Today, Ed oversees 325 JCPenney stores in 21 states, more than 39,000 associates, and sales and profit of a $4.8 billion business share of the market.

He sits on numerous boards of directors, including the Marshall University Society of Yeager Scholars, Executive Leadership Council and the John Freeman Hightower Foundation. He is an Advisor Board Member of the Black Retail Action Group, and a member of California State University’s Fullerton’s Blue Ribbon Committee, National Retail Association. NAACP and the National Urban League.


Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma

Drs. Joseph and Omayma Touma met as students at the Damascus University School of Medicine and married in 1966.

That same year, they moved to the United States to pursue additional training. After finishing, they moved to Huntington in 1971. Thirty years later, here they are.

Omayma practiced pediatrics for 12 years, then became the medical director of the Cabell Huntington Health Department. She is active in several local, state and national public health committees. One of the achievements of which she is proudest is the initiation of the county’s clean-air regulations.

Joe has been an ear and balance specialist for nearly 30 years. He is the past president of the medical staff of St. Mary’s Hospital, Cabell Huntington Surgery Center, Cabell County Medical Society, AAMA, West Virginia Academy of Ear, Nose and Throat Physicians, and the International Society for the History of otolaryngology.

He currently is the president of the Huntington Medical Education Foundation. He is a member of several local, national and international organizations and committees. He lectures all over the world. He has published numerous works and has invented 14 ear-related instruments, tubes and prostheses.

The Toumas are very active in historic property rehabilitation and share a deep love for the arts. They have established the Touma near Eastern Gallery at the Huntington Museum of Art and the Touma Museum of Medicine in downtown Huntington. They also have established several scholarships at Marshall and other universities for minorities and the hearing impaired.

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Marshall University
Lewis College of Business
Office: 107 Corbly Hall
Phone: 304-696-2314