History and Community in Lyons and Muir, Michigan

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ruth (Cantine) Stedman by Wilma Ackerson

In the '28-'29 school year Ruth (Cantine) Stedman was a senior and member of the Muir High School debate team. That team consisted of three girls, Dorothy King, Helen Kelly and Ruth. They went on to win honor as outstanding debate team among Michigan High Schools. The Detroit Free Press presented them with a large bronze plaque on a wooden shield.

Ruth, who was the daughter of Pearl and Fred Cantine lived on the Hayes, now the Schuring Farm, where her father was farm foreman.

After graduation from Muir High School, Ruth went to Lansing and was an apprentice to a hair stylist and also served as a model of latest hair styles.

Later she married Millard Stedman. She and "Cy" as he was commonly known lived on a farm just south of Palo. They raised four children, Richard, Bruce, James and Mary Jane.

Ruth, who will be 94 on the last day of this year was recently reunited with the debate team picture and the plaque they won.

The plaque, especially, has had quite a history. When the old brick Muir High School building was torn down to make room for Twin Rivers, the Senior pictures and the debate team picture and plaque were first stored in the Muir village hall. The pictures were later loaned to Doris Pierce when she opened the Muir Restaurant to display on the walls where they were a great conversation starter for patrons. When the Pierces closed the restaurant the pictures, including the one of the debate team, were given to the Lyons-Muir Historical Society and put on display in the Museum. Just a few months ago, Doris Pierce was looking over the Restaurant building they still own in Muir. She discovered the plaque that had been awarded the debate team and a framed graduation certificate from Muir High School. She promptly brought them to the Museum.

As luck would have it, I was just leaving. Doris said, "Here is something I found and I don't know what it is but the Historical Society can have it." I recognized it at once having spent the four years of my high school looking at it a lot of the time. So that is how it came about that on a recent sunny day Louise Cook and I joined Ruth and her daughter, Mary Jane Kuhtz, and reunited Ruth with the plaque and debate team pictures together.

When asked by her daughter if she remember the debate team, Ruth said, "Of course I do".

She will also tell you that she was ounce found to be the healthiest 4-H girl in the Lower Peninsula. She never got to the National competition as she was sick at the time. How Ironic!

The debate team picture and plaque are on display in the Lyons-Muir Historical Society Museum in Lyons.


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