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Jeffrey Joseph Ruden January 13, 1966 - March 21, 2022


Posted By: volunteer (email)
Date: 4/3/2022 at 18:47:46

Jeff "Tank" Ruden, 56 of Maxwell, passed away suddenly on March 21, 2022.

The visitation will be held on March 25th at St. Mary's Church in Elkhart, Iowa, between 5 - 7 PM. The funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM on March 26th at St. Mary's Church, as well.

Jeff/Tank would not want anyone to mourn him; he would want everyone to celebrate and raise a glass to his life and the relationships he had with the people he knew and loved.

Jeff was born in Orange City, Iowa, to Robert Ruden and Karen Ruden (Recker) on January 13th, 1966. He went to school at Marcus High School, where he played football and developed lifelong friendships with everyone he came in contact with. He also grew up working on the farm and developed a strong work ethic by walking beans, "hauling fertilizer," baling hay/straw and whatever it took to make the family successful. The smell of money was in his lungs, as the older generation would say.

Jeff was a rambunctious teenager with activities that included borrowing a school mini bus for a joyride down main street and various small-town capers with his siblings and friends/accomplices.

After high school, he joined the Marine Corps and received numerous awards such as the Meritorious Unit Commendation to Marine Air Control Group 18, Good Conduct Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Seal Defense Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and Rifle Sharpshooter Badge.

Following his military service, he aspired to be a groupie with Whitesnake, but instead opted to start working at a copier repair store in Fort Dodge. He most recently worked for Access Systems, where his strong work ethic and willingness to get his hands dirty, led him to be Vice President of Service for over 13 years.

Jeff married the love of his life, Theresa Phelan-Ruden, on September 23, 1999.

Jeff/Tankee Doodle was a hell of a Dad/Son/Brother/Uncle/Friend and didn't let dumbasses or people with a lack of common sense (which isn't as common as it should be) slide by without a smart-aleck comment -- but he was someone who would give you the shirt off of his back, unless it was his favorite Hawaiian shirt.

He liked whooping it up in the pool with family and wasn't opposed to roadies on a trip over 10 miles, which he sometimes referred to as "checking the fences" if he had nowhere to go. He also enjoyed woodworking, hunting, guns, bourbon, smoking meat, and loved trying to fix problems even if no one else knew they existed. Jeff (The Chef) enjoyed cooking and perfecting recipes, which meant his family would sometimes have to endure experimental suppers, but the end result would be delicious and worth the torture.

He was also known for making calls to people he cared about on their birthdays and singing "Happy Birthday" (in a bad and very off-pitch tone). He stopped calling people one year, and everyone got so upset that he had to restart the tradition. Cheers!

Jeff was preceded in death by his mother Karen Recker and daughter Jerrica Hilleman-Ruden.

He is survived by his wife Theresa Phelan-Ruden, his father Robert Ruden (Vickie), his siblings Roger Ruden (Susanne), Karla Ruden, and Daniel Recker-Dizon (Ding Dizon), four children Megan Ruden, Emily Bygness (Erick), Erin Ruden and Jessica Lewis and 5 grandchildren: Brock Chapman, Aiden Hofer, Julian Vazquez, Sofia Vazquez, and Kennedy Price. Jeff was also survived by countless friends and family. The world just got a little less competent and little more inauthentic.

Jeff's Funeral Mass:


From Coburn Funeral Homes


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