Paul Charles Rugen

Paul Charles Rugen

RUIDOSO, NM. – Paul Charles Rugen was a fantastic human being who, sadly, passed away on July 17. He was inquisitive, quick to smile, ready to help and, with a twinkle of mischief in his eye, happy to tell you a tall tale that was almost believable. He loved being outdoors, reading, and watching birds from the kitchen window.

Born in 1930, he grew up in Glenview, Illinois, the son of Frank and Sophie Rugen. His stories of youthful havoc were hard to believe for those who knew him later, but those same instincts for adventure led him to many travels (and many colleges). After serving in Korea, he finally finished his degree at Oregon State University and took a job with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, working in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northern Wisconsin. It was there one night he met a bartender, named Betty, who would be the love of his life. Risking life and limb, he stole a flower from her mother’s window box, and worked his way into her heart.

Paul took a job with the Sea Lamprey Control Division in Marquette, Michigan, where he helped raise two very lucky children, Suzie and Bill. Always willing to try anything once, he took up cross country skiing, was an early adopter of tofu, and made disgusting snacks of crackers with peanut butter and sardines.

After many cold winters and way too much snow shoveling, Paul and Betty moved to Ruidoso, NM, where they have happily spent the last 20+ years.

He is preceded in death by his brothers, Dave and Jim; he is survived by Betty, his wife of 55 years, children, and sister Frannie, who apparently is going to live forever.

He was a friend to all he met. If you never met him, we wish you could have.

Condolences may be sent to Betty Rugen, PO Box 7305, Ruidoso, NM 88355.