Collectors seek out ‘some of the very first plastic buttons’ |

Collectors seek out ‘some of the very first plastic buttons’

Kurt Hildebrand

Lisa Tolda called to thank me for the story on May Ruth French. Lisa was shooting photos for the Appeal during May Ruth’s heyday and remembers her well.

“She was a character,” Lisa said. “Some people thought she was wacky, but she was a sweetheart.”

One of the more difficult things to pin down in the story was when May Ruth came to Carson City. Both her son Deni and Barbara Jepson of the Button Club, believed May Ruth came to Carson in the early 1980s.

However, in stories about her run for supervisor, the Appeal listed her as living here for 5 years, which jibes with the date listed by the Assessor’s Office for when Ben and May Ruth purchased their home.

I just think that May Ruth was one of those people who fill a place the minute they walk in the door.

There is still a button club in Carson City according to Barbara. The group of about a half-dozen people makes the run up to Reno every June for the state convention.

The show this year will be 1-4 p.m. June 15 at the Northwest Library on Robb Drive.

“When I tell people I collect buttons they just sort of look at me,” she said. “But I carry a book that one of our members found and show them the buttons in it and they say ‘Oh, we’ve never seen anything like this.'”

Button collectors are known to spend $70 or $80 on a button.

“Coin collectors aren’t any different,” Barbara said. “Some of the very first plastic buttons are very valuable.”

Speaking of clubs, the Desert Garden Club recognized its 50th anniversary on Thursday with a tea at Adele’s.

Charter members Kay Winters and Betty Helgren were among the 38 Desert Gardeners, who enjoyed the day.

Club president Irma Adams said the Kay and Betty were honored with a corsage and a certificate in recognition of their contributions over the decades.

Mark Twain club member Lucille Petty was also in attendance. The Desert Club spun off from the other.

The club was recognized in 1998 by the Shade Tree Council with the George Washington Ferris Award for planting trees.

“There were a lot of the old guard of Carson City there,” Irma said. “It was very elegant, everyone had a pot of tea.”

Irma has lived in Carson City since 1986 and was recruited for the club by Alice List, mother of Gov. Robert List.

According to Irma, charter members of the club are President Bernice Berning, Margret Crowl, Jean Clay, Mildred Bray, Betty Helgren, Genevieve Holcomb, Alice List, Virginia Miller, Mrs. Oxford, Velma Stodieck, Alice Sullivan, Margaret Ross, Kathleen Winters, Margaret Vargiola, and Matilda Van Donen


Irma and husband Alan donated the first computer to the Carson City Library in 1992, according to Bill Dolan’s Past Pages.

The couple lived in Kansas City and worked for an airline. They married in Las Vegas in 1972 and purchased property in Carson City in 1972. Her sister teaches at St. Teresa’s and her daughter is a junior at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc.

Chris Perdomo called with the news that son, Rick, a 1998 graduate of Carson High School, was elected executive vice president of the University of Nevada, Reno student body.

Rick, a senior, defeated opponent Kym Ladaga 519-421, according to the Sagebrush, the university’s student newspaper.

According to the Sagebrush, Rick was a senator in the college of engineering when he decided to seek the office of executive vice president.

Rick told Sagebrush reporter Juliana Crespo that he wants more representation for clubs on campus and to work with the publications board to keep projects within the budget.

Kurt Hildebrand is assistant managing editor at the Nevada Appeal. Reach him at 881-1215 or