The Pine Valley Bulletin

MARTIN, Ruth Brent
Portrayed by
: Mary Fickett (1970-96, 2000-01); Willi Burke (1980); Lee Meriweather (1996-99, 2002-present)
Family: Amy Tyler (Sister); Phil Brent (Adopted Son); Tad Gardner Martin (Adopted Son); Jake Martin (Son); Jamie Martin (Grandson); Kathy Mershon Keefer (Granddaughter); Jenny Martin (Granddaughter)
Marriages: Ted Brent; Joe Martin

1970: Loving nurse Ruth Brent harbored a dark secret that she knew would tear her family apart. She and her husband, Ted Brent, had adopted her sister, Amy Tyler’s, son and raised him as their own. For 18 years, Phil Brent was kept in the dark about his parentage. This would all change when Ruth ran into Nick Davis, Phil’s father.
Ruth’s marriage to Ted, a used car salesmen, was crumbling. She found a calming voice in Dr. Joe Martin, her colleague and the father of Phil’s girlfriend, Tara Martin. Ruth had feelings for the charismatic doctor, but felt like she could not leave Ted.
Phil lay near death after he was rescued from a gas leak. The hero was Nick. When Joe said that only Phil’s parents could see him, Amy broke down and revealed the truth about Phil to Nick. Ruth and Ted convinced Nick to hold their secret.
When Phil found out, he berated his parents. In a drunken rage, Ted went off to confront Nick, but got a fatal car accident. Phil decided to go to New York after graduation, and Amy left town in shame. Alone, the mourning widow turned to Joe for comfort.

1971: Ruth was happy to have Phil at home, and encouraged his fledging relationship with his father, Nick. She wanted Phil to recover, but was even more concerned about his relationship with Tara. Ruth confided in Joe that Phil was beginning to have feelings for Tara again.
Ruth began supervising the nurses at the hospital. One that stood out among the rest was Mary Kennicott. Though Jeff Martin was married to Erica Kane, Ruth thought Mary was perfect for him.
Ruth found herself spending more and more time with Joe inside and outside of the hospital. Before either knew it, they were a couple.
At the end of the year, Ruth learned devastating news: Phil was going to Vietnam.

1972: Ruth braced herself for Phil’s inevitable departure. Ruth, like Amy, had apprehensions about the direction the war had gone. Ruth felt inadequate in that for so long it was Amy who had protected Phil from the draft.
Before Phil was set to leave, Ruth and Joe got married in the Martin home. Kate Martin passed her reign as Martin matriarch to Ruth and gave her the Martin home. Kate became Ruth’s best friend and confidant.
Not long after Phil was deployed, Ruth received terrible news: he was dead. Like many of the young men of the time, he had fallen in combat. Ruth began to openly speak out against the war. Ruth especially noticed how hard the news hit Tara, who was now married to Chuck and with child. Tara and Ruth bonded over their grief. One night, Tara approached Ruth with a secret: she was pregnant with Phil’s son. When Phillip Charles Tyler was born, Ruth embraced her grandson and promised to keep Tara’s secret for his sake.

1973: Ruth was blessed with the best news any mother could here: her son was alive. After two new near death experiences, Ruth wanted nothing more but to hold her son. Just like Amy had years ago, she was keeping a secret from her son: the truth about little Phillip.
Ruth turned to Joe, who too was in the dark about Phillip. As far as Joe was concerned, Tara had moved on, and so should Phil. Ruth decided it was Tara who needed to be honest with Phil.

1974: Joe was having trouble protecting Jeff while Ruth worried about Phil. Phil had grown despondent. Ruth turned to Nick, who Phil was only beginning to bond with,
Joe and Ruth took in Tad Gardner, Jeff and Mary’s foster child. The court assigned the elder Martins to take care of the child while they searched for his biological parents.

1975: Phil stormed into the Martin home demanding to know the truth from his mother. His blood was the only one in the family that matched Phillip Tyler. What was the secret she had been keeping from him? Ruth broke down and revealed that Tara had lied to everyone: Phillip was Phil’s son. Phil rushed out to see Tara. Joe walked in on that very moment. Ruth had kept that secret from him too. Joe and Ruth were already fighting over Phil’s involvement in Tara’s life. Ruth turned to Kate when Joe pushed her away.

1976: Ruth and Joe lived in a divided home. Joe still could not trust Ruth. Ruth thought he no longer loved her.
At the hospital, Ruth befriended physician’s assistant, David Thornton. David openly flirted with Ruth. She smitten that a younger man had found interest in her. David revealed that he was in fact a surgeon. His tour in Vietnam had traumatized him to so much that he was afraid to continue in operate on anyone. Ruth helped him come to grips with his trauma. David told her that he could only be a doctor again if she was by his side. Ruth thought her marriage to Joe was over and decided to ask him for a divorce.
The night Ruth was going to break the news to Joe, he was admitted to the hospital with appendicitis. David was the only person on call who could perform the surgery. Thinking she almost lost Joe, Ruth realized that she truly loved him and not David. They reconciled and promised to make their marriage work.
That Christmas, Phil and Tara finally married. It seemed as if the conflicts in the Martin home were over.

1977: Ruth was excited to learn that Ray Gardner was found alive in Texarcana. Tad was soon going to be her son legally. Joe returned home without Ray’s letter of consent. He had attempted to extort money from the Martins. Ruth could not understand why Joe did not just acquiesce so that Tad could be their son.
Ruth called Ray herself. She wanted to work something out to finalize the adoption. She accidentally let it slip that they lived in Pine Valley. Unbeknownst to Ruth, Ray was on the first plane there.

1978: Ruth arrived in the Martin home to catch Ray threatening her son, Tad, and grandson, Charlie. Ray demanded $15,000 to sign away his rights to Tad. Ruth refused after seeing Ray’s affect on Tad. She demanded he leave and warned him that he would never get his son back.
Ruth was alone is a parking lot when Ray attacked her. She tried to fight back, but could not find the strength to over take him. Ray raped Ruth, and beat her badly. She fell into a coma.
Ruth awoke to the site of her husband. Ruth decided to leave Pine Valley with Tad in order to mend their broken relationship. Joe and Paul took care of the trial, making sure Ray went to prison for his crime. With Ray in prison, Joe and Ruth formally adopted Tad.
But, Ruth’s greatest fear was realized when the news broke that Ray had escaped from prison. To protect herself, Ruth bought a revolver.

1979: Ruth learned she was pregnant with a son at the same time Phil announced his plans to leave Pine Valley. Ruth contemplated abortion, fearful of the different ailments that could befall the child because of her advanced age. But, an amniocentesis calmed her fears and determined the child to be perfectly healthy. Joseph ‘Joey’ Martin, jr. was born that Christmas Day.
Tara returned to Pine Valley with bad news. Phil had gone missing on an undercover mission. Ruth was fearful that she had lost her son again.

1981: Ruth was trying to balance out her life as a new mother and as a professional nurse. She was jealous that any free time Joe had he was spending it with Leora Sanders, an abuse victim he was trying to illicit a confession from.
Ruth got the news she had dreaded since Tara and Charlie returned to Pine Valley. The US government confirmed that Phil was dead. Joe comforted his wife the best he could. Phil was given a proper war veteran’s funeral.
Tara reluctantly attended Tara’s wedding to Jim Jefferson. She could believe that Tara could so easily move on after Phil’s death. Her grief was only compounded when Tara and Charlie moved to Portland with Jim.
Tad was becoming more than Joe and Ruth could handle. He had turned to drugs and alcohol. After crashing the family station wagon, he ran away from home. His biological mother and sister, Opal and Jenny Gardner, turned up in Pine Valley in search of him. Joe and Ruth opened their home to the Gardners, hoping that someday Tad would come home too.

1982: Joey had gotten into Kate’s dresser drawer and found the gun she had kept to protect herself from Ray. While playing with it, he accidentally shot Kate. Though the injury was not life threatening, Ruth blamed herself. She turned over the gun to the police, refusing to live in fear because of Ray.
Ray managed an early parole from prison and made his way to the Martin home. Ruth was terrified to see her worst nightmare out on the streets again. Ray attempted to kidnap Joey at the Cortlandt Manor. Joe and Ruth did what they could to protect their family from Ray’s reign of terror. This reign came to an abrupt end when Ray died holding a bomb meant for the Martins.

1983: When Tad returned to Pine Valley, Ruth recognized her son had changed. Tad’s return also caused tension between Opal and Ruth. Opal believed that Ruth was spoiling her son. Ruth was willing to provide everything he needed, as long as it kept him enrolled at Pine Valley University.

1985: Ruth was devastated when Kate passed away peacefully in her sleep. Ruth not only lost her mother-in-law, but her best friend. Ruth had relied on Kate in the last few years to keep Tad in line. The funeral also proved to be a moment to celebrate. For the first time in a long time, all the Martins were back under one roof.

1986: Ruth and Joe tried to reach Tad on the day he was set to marry Hillary Wilson. Little did they know, Tad was being held at gunpoint at the Pine Valley Bank. Phoebe wanted to call off the wedding, but Ruth was sure her son was going to arrive. Hillary and Tad married later that evening at Wallingford Mansion. Unfortunately, the union did not last, and Tad decided to leave town again.
Charlie announced he was going to attend Pine Valley University in the fall. Ruth assumed Charlie would be living in the Martin home. But, he insisted on living with Phoebe to help her grieve the loss of Charles.

1989: Ruth thought Tad was finally going to settle down when he proposed marriage to Dixie Cooney. Ruth enthusiastically helped planned their wedding. A lot changed when Opal returned to town for the nuptials. Ruth did her best to accept Opal, bust she was very much back to her old meddling ways.

1990: Joe and Ruth gathered for what was to be one of the happiest days of their lives. Tad was set to remarry the love of his life, Dixie Cooney. At their apartment, the bad news began to seep in. Tad had gone after dastardly Billy Clyde Tuggle on his own. Now, he was missing in the backwoods of Pine Valley.
Ruth’s nightmare continued when Trevor Dillon reported saw Billy Clyde and Tad fall off a bridge into the icy river below. Ruth braced herself for the worst. When Billy Clyde’s body was found on shore, Ruth knew hopes for Tad were slim. As Opal insisted that her son had survived, Ruth knew better. Ruth lashed out at Opal to come to grips with reality: Tad was dead.

1991: Ruth worried about Charlie after he dropped out of medical school. He took a job as the “Man of Enchantment.” Soon, Charlie was a romantic item with Erica. Ruth wanted to keep Charlie and Erica apart. When her pleas fell on deaf ears, she called in reinforcements. Nick returned to Pine Valley to help his old friend. Ruth explained that she had already seen Erica hurt two generations of men in her family, and did not want Charlie to be the next victim.
At a Martin family dinner, Nick called out Erica on her relationship with Charlie. When she could not say that she loved him, Charlie broke up with Erica.

1992: Ruth offered Kate’s wedding dress to Natalie Marlowe when she was set to marry Trevor Dillon. Natalie had been through so much in the last few years, it was the least she could do for the happy couple.
That Christmas Eve, Joe and Ruth helped Palmer over the phone when Opal went into labor with their son. Peter Cortlandt was born in the midst of one of the largest snow storms that Pine Valley ever saw.

1993: Brooke called Joe and Ruth with some amazing news: Tad was alive. Joe and Ruth went to meet him. They had no expectations after learning he was suffering from amnesia. But seeing his parents brought all his memories back. The Martins were finally reunited.

1994: Just months before, Ruth was celebrating at Tad and Dixie’s second wedding. But devastation was just around the corner. A tornado tore through Pine Valley. It caused the Martin home to collapse. In the ruble, Ruth found Tad lying near death. Joe and Ruth did what they could to save their son. As the ambulance took Tad away, Ruth surveyed the destruction. All of her photos and family heirlooms were destroyed.

1995: Ruth’s depression grew worse as she prepared to move into the new Martin home. The house was an empty shell of its former self. Tad, Dixie, and Charlie hatched a plan to turn Ruth’s mood around. They arranged for all of their old family and friends to come to the home’s housewarming. Nick was integral in contacting many of Pine Valley’s old citizens for the event. Seeing the old faces from her past helped Ruth come to terms with all the tornado had taken away.

1996: Ruth was overjoyed when Joey, now going by Jake, returned to Pine Valley a doctor. He began working with Joe at Pine Valley Hospital.

1997: Ruth stood by Joe after he suffered a heart attack. Joe began to take some time off of work. Ruth took her nursing skills abroad, volunteering in Latin America.

1999: Ruth became a grandfather again when Liza Colby gave birth to Colby Marian Chandler, Jake’s daughter. Or so it seemed. In reality, Colby was Adam Chandler’s child.

2000: Joe and Ruth spent time at the Crystal Ball reminiscing about their years together in Pine Valley.
Ruth was relieved when Jake was found alive in Chechnya. He had gone there to participate in doctors without borders.

2002: Tad and Jake got in a terrible fight after Liza Colby threw her sister, Mia Saunders, out a window at Chandler Mansion. Tad wanted to prevent Liza from going to prison, but Jake wanted to make her pay. Ruth forced the boys to make amends before Christmas dinner.

2005: Ruth and Joe took Sam in. Sam wanted to learn more about his biological family after Edmund’s death.
Di Henry spent most of the year pretending to be the late Dixie. Ruth had been so convinced by Di, she tried reuniting her with Tad.

2007: Ruth welcomed a new granddaughter, Jenny Martin, Tad’s daughter with Krystal Carey. Ruth and Opal were shocked to learn Tad had married Krystal. Ruth continued to be the voice of reason for Opal, who was upset that their son had eloped.

2008: Ruth was startled by the appearance of Robert Gardner, Ray’s brother. Robert was a former civil servant and appeared to be everything Ray was not. Tad was hesitant to trust Robert. Tad was weary of how much Robert wanted to implicate himself in his life. Ruth was willing to give Robert the benefit of the doubt.
Robert turned out to be just as lascivious as Ray. He was using Tad to learn the whereabouts of Jesse Hubbard. At the Hubbard wedding, Robert showed his true colors and shot Tad. Ruth anxiously awaited news about her son’s condition. Jake and Joe’s timely intervention saved her son.
Ruth welcomed Kathy Mershon to the Martin family. Kathy was really Kate Martin, Tad and Dixie’s lost daughter. Dr. Greg Madden had taken her away from Dixie after her accident in Switzerland. Kathy eventually became nurse Julia Keefer’s foster daughter. Julia died during Robert’s tirade.