Speaker Bios

Audrey Elder
Past to Present Research LLC
215 S. Lynn St.
Independence, MO 64050

Audrey has been a small business owner for the past twenty years, most recently starting Past to Present Research LLC in 2010. Past to Present specializes in historic research, education and sustainability consultation. Past to Present has researched and written twenty nine historic property books. After recently leaving a twelve year career in real estate, Audrey now teaches continued education on working with historic properties for realtors in Missouri and Kansas as well as training presentations specific to historic preservation and sustainable community building in historic districts.

Audrey served three years on the City of Independence Missouri Heritage Commission, is a member of many local historic societies, Missouri Main Street member, founder of sustainability community group Meaningful Living and Co-Chair of Education Outreach for the Oregon California Trails Association.

Audrey and her husband Dan live in the Fort Osage area on fourteen acres of homesteading happiness. Dan tends to beekeeping while Audrey tends to the gardens and chickens, typing out an occasional blog, poem, or fictional story. Dan and Audrey have two grown children: James and Rebecca. Audrey’s first Past to Present book available for purchase: “Guide to Selling Historic Properties for Real Estate Agents” was published early spring 2018.


Gene Padgitt

Vice President

HearthMasters, Inc.

Three Trails Cottages, LLC
1134 S Pearl Street

Independence, MO 64050



www.threetrailscottages, LLC

Gene has lived in Independence, MO for 32 years. He is the Vice President of HearthMasters, Inc. located in Independence, which specializes in historic chimney and fireplace restoration, construction of new chimneys, fireplaces, brick ovens, and masonry heaters. Gene is a Missouri State Certified Private Fire Investigator, specializing in investigation of house fires related to chimneys and heating appliances. He started HearthMasters in 1982 and has been involved in construction for 46 years. Gene has a degree in HVACR Technology and is a Licensed Mechanical Contractor, CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, Certified Heater Mason, and Certified Gas Specialist. 

Gene has served on the board of directors for the Midwest Chimney Safety Council for 25 years. He is an instructor for the chimney and masonry industries and has taught courses at the National Chimney Sweep Guild Conventions, Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association Conventions, Masonry Heater Association Conferences, and Midwest Chimney Safety Council Conferences for over 20 years. He is considered to be one of the top chimney specialists in the U.S. 

Padgitt is the general contractor for Three Trails Cottages, LLC, which buys and restores older homes to original condition, then sells or rents these homes. He is the general contractor for The Ginger House and has been working on this project for two years.  Gene is somewhat of a perfectionist, and he doesn't mind if something takes longer to do in order to have it done right. 


Marge Padgitt

President, ​HearthMasters, Inc. 

Partner, Three Trails Cottages, LLC

Director, The Ginger House Museum

Director, The Local History Preservation Society



Marge Padgitt is the CEO of several businesses in Independence, Missouri, and the Director of the Ginger House Museum. She is a history buff, genealogist, chimney specialist, and non-profit administrator, as well as a jazz bassist. 

Marge has served on the board of directors for the National Chimney Sweep Guild, Midwest Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, Masonry Heater Association of North America, and the Midwest Chimney Safety Council where she currently is serving as president until 2019. She is the president and director of the Local History Preservation Society, which is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic homes and buildings. 

​Marge has written 13 books for professional chimney businesses, balloon artists, and homeowners on various topics. She owns a publishing company and publishes her own books as well as books for others. She is the editor for Wood-Fired Magazine, and has written over 250 articles for several magazines. Marge currently has three books in the works, including a book about The Ginger House which is scheduled to be published soon, and she is working on a documentary film about the house project. 


Linda Lee Sutton

Linda Lee Sutton Original Dolls
(541) 830 -8384    
P. O. Box  54
Eagle Point, Oregon 97524
email: linda@lindaleesutton.com 

In 1983 Linda Lee Sutton, a surgery technician nurse, wanted to learn the art of antique doll reproduction, and to make the old-style master dolls that were made at the turn of the century. She was invited to attend a class by Theo Menzenbach, a third-generation master sculptor, and on the third day he told her she was a natural and would do well in the art of sculpting dolls. Linda believes that the fact that she was a surgery technician nurse likely helped. She attended many seminars over a 15-year period in Seattle, New York, California, Canada and other locations.  Linda would make two of the same doll, selling one to make money to go to the next seminar.  She also attended wig making classes to learn the art of wig creation for her dolls.

Each doll is a study in itself. She has made approximately 125 different sculpted original dolls and limits the number of the same design to five to twenty. Linda has received several awards from the international Toy Fair in Manhattan, New York, where she displayed samples. Her dolls have appeared on the covers on three magazines, and she has written articles for magazines on the art of doll construction.  Linda made several for F&B dolls for children, but they ended up mostly as collector pieces.

Linda met with Ginger Rogers and created a doll after her likeness. This doll is the only one ever made that was approved by Ginger Rogers. Unfortunately, Ginger passed prior to finalizing the agreement, so the name of the doll is “Fancy Feet”. One doll, #3 in a red gown, is in the Ginger House Museum. Linda is making only seven of these dolls, each with a different color gown. Two dolls will be available for sale at the Ginger Rogers Festival for $1,600 each, with profits going towards the restoration of the Ginger House Museum.  

Linda will share her amazing story during presentations at the Truman Library on Saturday. 


Tom Talbert
Third Reel Media Productions

Tom Talbert has had an incredible career in broadcast journalism as a photo journalist, producer/director and on-air talent that expands over 40 years and has taken him to most of the 50 states and to 35 different countries. 

Talbert has worked for seven different television stations, three radio stations and freelanced for several of the major TV networks.

In addition, Tom has served in three branches of the military as a journalist and retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve after over 20 years in uniform.

Talbert also spent time in Washington D.C. in the 1980s as Press Secretary for then U.S. Senator Roger Jepsen of Iowa.

He has acted as a media consultant, Media Analyst for the U.S. Army and has his own freelance production business, Tom Talbert Video Productions.

His list of past clients includes The Walt Disney Company, Walmart, John Deere, Farmers Insurance and Applebee’s to name a few.

Talbert’s most recent endeavor is Third Reel Media Productions, a non-profit media production company designed to provide underserved ministries and non-profit organization with quality video for their websites at a very affordable price.  The company is made up of retired top line highly skilled media pros who volunteer to give back to these underserved organizations.

Tom will show video he took during Ginger's 1994 visit to Independence for her birthday celebration and relate the story of the day. 


Keynote Speaker: Roberta Olden
Former personal assistant to Ginger Rogers

Administrative Assistant/ HR
Palm Desert Golf Course

Roberta grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, a 4th generation Californian. The youngest of 4 children, Roberta gravitated towards classic cinema during high school and college and spent many happy hours in the San Francisco classic movie houses where she discovered the big screen experience of older movies that TV didn’t accomplish.

Graduating from a local college, Roberta worked in the jewelry business as well as in mutual funds before getting her dream job as Ginger Rogers’ personal assistant in 1977. She moved to the southern California desert to work for Miss Rogers and for the next 18 years travelled to many locations on the globe meeting a variety of people … some famous … but mostly regular folks who were Ginger’s friends.  

Roberta currently works at the Palm Desert golf course as an Administrative Assistant/Human Resources manager, overseeing 140 staff members and continues to try to improve her golf game!

Subject of banquet talk:  Roberta says "Of course, it will be Ginger ... how I met her and got my job as her personal assistant; some stories about her career and personal life; and a few other nuggets!"


- Birthplace of Virginia Katherine McMath 
 Independence, Missouri -

The Ginger House Museum