Ruth Rolfe and Marilyn Best

Born in Nebraska, Marilyn Best grew up there and in New Mexico and came to Oklahoma to attend Bethany Nazarene College. She and her roommate, Thelia Elliot, welcomed NOW “missionaries” from all over the country to stay for extended periods in their home. Their house was a “hub of activity” during the Countdown Campaign in 1981 and 1982. Marilyn also provided the out-of-state visitors with a car. She had an early video camera and has donated video of the campaign and of news reports to the Oklahoma History Society.

Ruth Rolfe was born in Texas but grew up in Oklahoma City where she was a civil rights activist during high school under the leadership of Clara Luper. She became involved in the Oklahoma City Women’s Political Caucus in the early 1980s and engaged in mass mailing, phone banking, lobbying and organizing rallies for the ERA campaign. She and Marilyn Best may have been introduced by their mutual friend, Barbara Cleveland.