Flying Queen


I am Ruby Cannon Campbell and I was a Flying Queen from 1951-1955.

I was raised in a family of eleven children in a farming community in the Panhandle of Texas, known as Cotton Center. My twin sister, Ruth, and I were number seven and eight. Our dad died when we were nine years old. Growing up we spent our summers in the cotton fields of our farm and the neighbor’s farms.

Also, during the summer months we spent a lot of time in the gym at the school. Our routine was to go to the field and chop cotton, return home at the end of the day, take a bath, eat supper, go to the gym, play basketball, go home, go to bed, get up, eat breakfast . . . do it all over again. As a result of those nights and playing during the school year for Cotton Center high school, we were well known as the Cannon kids—Ruth, Ruby, Dorothy, and Bonnie—who could play basketball.

One memory I have about Wayland comes from when I was still in high school. We played their women’s team, in Plainview, in Wayland’s “cracker box” gym. They were known as the “Harvest Queens.” We won that game.

I graduated from high school in 1950; Ruth in 1951. When Ruth graduated Wayland offered her a scholarship. She told them she would play if her twin sister came along too.

Life at Wayland was eventful! I first lived in Pioneer Hall, a World War II pre-fabricated building that came from a military base. The next year I moved into Matador Hall, a dorm that was built in 1908. My senior year I got to live in a brand-new dorm, Ferguson Hall. Dr. and Mrs. Dobson were my two favorite professors because they were so personal and interested in me. My friends were a joy. Wayland was also where I met, dated, and fell in love with my future husband, Paul “Pete” Campbell.

Many moments are memorable from my time as a Flying Queen. The most outstanding was the thrill of that first National Championship in 1954. As co-captain of the team I was privileged, along with my dear friend Maureen Smithson, to present the Championship trophy to Wayland President Dr. A Hope Owen during a special assembly held in our honor. Close to that experience was when we repeated as champions in 1955 and six from our team (including me) and six others from other teams represented the United States in the Pan-American games in Mexico City. We were 8 and 0 and won the championship for our nation.

Pete and I married two years after he graduated in 1957. I taught school while Pete went to seminary. He graduated from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth in 1962 and I became a full-time homemaker and pastor’s wife. We were blessed with two wonderful children, Brent and Darla, and I delighted taking care of them and Pete. After 23 years in the pastorate, Pete became a realtor in Tyler, Texas.

Life is filled with highs and lows. My lowest blow was the death of a daughter who lived only seven minutes after premature birth at seven months pregnancy. My highest high was when I really understood what it means to trust Jesus Christ for my eternal life instead of trying to work my way to heaven.

I would say I still consider my teammates at Wayland my friends, but I have not maintained contact with them regularly. Through the years I have, at various times, met up with different ones of them and it was like picking up where we last left off.

What I learned from basketball is the necessity to work together to accomplish anything worthwhile. It takes everyone on the team to reach your goals.

Editor’s note: The above piece was written by Ruby’s husband, Paul, who shared in the joys of college life with his sweetheart… as well as a life of wedded joy for 60 years. Ruby had multiple strokes some six years ago. Her limbs and speech were not affected but, her memory and attention fade every now and then.