Carlton Ruch

Carl Ruch had a profound sense
of fairness combined with a wise and
open mind, and a playful, quirky sense
of humor. He was born in Oshkosh,
Wisconsin, on August 30, 1930, and
he passed away peacefully in College
Station, Texas, on December 15,
2011. Visitation will be held from
1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, December 18,
at Callaway-Jones Funeral Home in
Bryan. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, December
20, at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in College Station.
Carl’s last year was adventurous. His life was enriched
and blessed in many ways by his new wife, Sue Bowen Ruch.
They had hoped initially to take road trips together, but their
plans were altered when Carl had a heart attack in May. Sue
was always there for Carl—day in, day out—cooking healthy
meals for him, providing comfort and care, keeping track of
his complex medical regimen, and showing her love so steadily
and fully that he was able to leave this world in grace and
From 1954 to 2000, Carl shared his life with his first wife,
Ramona, who passed away in July 2000. Together they had
four children and 11 grandchildren. During that time, Carl
was a Lutheran minister in Cobb and Madison, Wisconsin,
at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in College Station, Texas,
and later worked at Texas A&M. For a year and a half prior to
marrying Sue, Carl’s granddaughter Leslie lived with him.
Each year for more than a decade now, Carl gathered his
children, grandchildren, and their partners and spouses for
Christmas and summer vacations. Carl never passed up a chance
to play games at those gatherings and his habit of making up
words in Scrabble always made the game interesting.
Carl wanted his grandchildren to have an education and
to participate in public service. On their 18th birthday, he sent
each grandchild a letter explaining the importance of voting.
Carl was the only one of his siblings to attend college, and
he paid his own way through school by working several jobs.
He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s of Divinity
from Capital University in Ohio, and he earned a master’s
degree in Sociology and a doctorate in Urban and Regional
Planning from Texas A&M University, where he worked in
the Urban and Regional Planning Department until he retired
in 1999.
While at A&M, Carl enhanced emergency preparedness
for the Gulf Coast. During hurricane season he often received
calls from FEMA or the media for his advice. In 1999,
then-Governor George W. Bush wrote him a personal letter
commending him for his service to the state of Texas.
Carl loved to swim. Until his heart attack this year, he
swam nearly every day. He also loved playing bridge, and
regularly played with Star Duplicate Bridge and a group from
his congregation.
Carl taught a popular Sunday school course until weeks
before he passed away. The topics he chose and the guests
he invited to speak reflected his lifelong belief that knowing
people of other faiths and understanding their particular belief
system was a key to peace in this world.
When asked about his time as a teacher and minister, he
said, “You need to let people find their own path and expedite
the best ways for them to follow their paths.”
Carl said he would like to be remembered “as somebody
who was very close to his family. Somebody who was
concerned about the world, about conditions in the world, and
who, within his possibilities and limitations, did what he could
to do what was right—as someone who tried, at least, to do
his best.”
Carl was the master of understatement. As a counselor,
minister, teacher, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and
friend of many, his ability to listen and to offer thoughtful,
wise encouragement changed many lives for the better. We
are fortunate that he did his best, and that his best was so very
Carl is survived by his wife, Sue Bowen Ruch (and her
extended family, including daughter Laura Pratt and husband
Jeff, and daughters Taylor and Casey, and son Todd Bowen
and partner Kristin, and son Jackson); son, Mark and wife,
Susan Kies Ruch and their children, Sarah Parikh (and
husband Vishal), Stephanie Bostick (and husband Nathan
and son Nathan Jr.), Ana, and Colin; daughter, Mari Ward
and husband, Joe and their children, Rachel (and Arie Israel),
Leslie, and Michael; daughter, Teri and husband, John Schultz
and their children, Josh and Talia; and daughter, Alicia and
husband, Greg Flynn and their children, Kathryn (and fiancé
Tim Petersen) and Charlotte.
In lieu of flowers, donations to
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church
building fund, Compassionate
Care Hospice, or a charity of the
donor’s choice are requested.
Carlton Ruch
August 30, 1930 – December 15, 2011
Please view his Book of Memories™ at


  1. I will always remember the kinds words of praise Mr. Ruch sent me. He was so pleased with the poinsettias in the church and his words filled me with the Christmas spirit. Even now I remember his words each time I see a group of poinsettias. He was a wonderful person. My prayers are with his family and friends.

  2. I was blessed to grow up in the same neighborhood with Carl Ruch’s family in Bryan. With four children their house was always brimming with activity and we had great fun. My thoughts and sympathy today are with Mari and Teri especially, friends and former classmates.

    With love and remembrance,

  3. I am so sorry to be so late to send condolence. I knew Carl (Corky as we called him back then) when he was a student pastor at the Lutheran Student Center in Madison, WI. I believe from there he went back to Reynoldsburg, Ohio. We saw ice boat races on the lake at Oshkosh. I was playing table tennis with “Corky” at the Madison Student Center when I met my now husband, Donald Polzin. I know how much Carl believed in equality for all – long before that was a subject to preach about. Your family must miss him terribly.

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