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Ralph Herman Ruedy, 26 Aug 1943 - 07 May 2022


Posted By: Sarah Witte (email)
Date: 5/19/2022 at 16:10:12

Ralph Herman Ruedy, 78, passed away Saturday, May 7, 2022 in Staunton at Brightview Baldwin Park.

Ralph was born to a communal German pietist immigrant community in the Amana Colonies, Iowa. As a charter member of the Amana Heritage Society, which was established to preserve the history of the community, Ralph’s kind heart never left home during his larger-than-life travels. His beautiful family home was built approximately in 1870 and is considered a National Historic Landmark, with the communal kitchen wing of the building leased as a museum.

After he graduated from Iowa State University, Ralph embarked on an extraordinary Naval career, where he was decorated with the Navy Achievement Medal for his service in Vietnam. Concluding his service, Ralph was promoted to lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserves, later receiving a commission as major in Air Force Intelligence. He went on to achieve his PH.D. in English from Duke University. In fact, Ralph’s dissertation, “Ford Maddox Ford and the English Review, 1908-1909,” can still be found online on Brown University’s “Modernist Journals Project” website.

It was at Duke he met his future wife. Still the love of his life to this day, Ralph married Shirley Eloise Wallace in the Duke University Chapel fifty-two years ago. They have three children: Carolyn Eloise Ruedy, Elizabeth Marie Ruedy, Daniel Ralph Ruedy, and granddaughter Imogen Marie Townes.

When in the foreign service of the United States Information Agency, Ralph and his family traveled to Tehran, Iran; East Berlin, then of the German Democratic Republic; Bonn, then of the Federal Republic of Germany; Russia; and Washington, D.C. He witnessed the fading of the Shah, saw Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, witnessed German reunification, and helped build new diplomatic relationships in a transformed Europe. A fluent German speaker, Ralph’s favorite location was Germany.

Ralph’s service to country was continued into retirement when he was often called upon to consult for the U.S. Department of State. His duties included serving as interim Deputy Office Director for the Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, which sent him to Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Ralph served as an election observer, carrying him to Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine. As an ordained elder within the Presbyterian Church in Fairfax, VA, Ralph has participated in outreach that included international mission trips to Mexico, Kenya, and Honduras. As a member of Trinity Episcopal Church here in Staunton, he traveled on mission trips to Honduras. He was also a member of Trinity’s Outreach committee, the Augusta County Historical Society, Kiwanis, and Forum Club.

It’s unbelievable he ever had time for other pursuits, along with his ample professional and community service, but Ralph carved out room for reading, fishing, and hunting, reciting poetry, and being a good grandpa.

A memorial service will be conducted on Sunday, May 22, 2022 at 2:00 PM at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton with Reverend William “A.J.” Heine officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Amana Church (PO Box 103, Middle Amana, IA 52307) for “Restore – Revive – Renew.”

Published on Henry Funeral Home website, an abbreviated version was published in The Gazette on May 15, 2022.


Iowa Obituaries maintained by Steve Williams.
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