Willis and Faye, married on July 17, 1953, are inseparable and are the epitome of a successful couple. While Willis takes care of the music, Faye shies away from publicity and performs the many minute details for the theater. Her kids say she’s an excellent cook and is always baking cookies. Gena’s friends often said her mom made them delicious cookies every time they visited. Faye also sewed many of the kids’ clothes, because she loved sewing. Willis and Faye are both community oriented. Besides being active in 4-H and church, they have taught classes on sewing, woodworking, electrical fundamentals and rope making. They were known for hosting events on their farm, including wiener roasts, picnics and 4th of July fireworks. Willis taught the boys how to make molasses, apple cider and brooms. They have six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Some have performed on the stage.
Willis and Faye, by their own exemplary examples, built the character and spirit of Rathbun. Everyone, house band, guest performers and music fan’s all feel like they’re part of one happy family. Strangers attending for the first time will find a friendly welcome as they arrive in the parking lot. They are greeted with smiles and warm, courteous words from Jerry McIntyre, when he’s not playing drums, or from Larry Opperman, a Vietnam War veteran. When Jerry’s on stage, John Griswold helps with parking. They also work sound and lights when the show starts.
Outside the entrance the American flag proudly waves. The lobby consists of the ticket counter, snack bar and rest rooms. Pictures and other memorabilia adorn the walls to remind everyone of the long, rich and treasured history of the theater. Soft-spoken, graceful and polite, Faye is usually found behind the ticket counter with her able assistant, Linda Opperman. The snack bar is operated by Deb McIntyre and Deb Davison.