A House in His Memory
Ronald J. Ruben did not mind getting his hands dirty. When he was not trading equities on Wall Street, he was fixing old cars, or building toy boxes, tables and chairs. He was a people person, though his hobbies required him to spend long stretches alone, said his sister, Leslie Dillon.
"He would always be there to fix things and carry things for people," Mrs. Dillon said. "I know people say this all the time, but he was one of the good guys."
Before the attacks, Mr. Ruben, 36, of Hoboken, N.J., had worked for seven months for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods as vice president of equity trading. He had agonized for days over whether he should leave his longtime job at another financial company, she said. But once he started at Keefe, he expressed no regrets.
As a memorial, family and friends are having a Habitat for Humanity house built in Mr. Ruben's name.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 15, 2001.
Ron Ruben, 36, a kind and loving friend
When Ron Ruben got his first holiday bonus, he spent it at a toy store and brought the gifts to children at a local hospital.
At gatherings of family and friends, he was a favorite playmate for children, including his nieces, Amy Rose and Morgan, and his nephew Pierce.
"He was Uncle Ronnie to 100 kids," said his sister, Leslie Dillon of Jefferson Township. "He's one of the good guys of this world. He's the kind of guy that you wanted to bring home, and you wanted him to be your friend."
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Sept. 11, Mr. Ruben, who worked on the 89th floor of Two World Trade Center as a vice president of equity trading for Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., told both his sisters during separate phone calls that he was okay.
"He told me he loved me, and I told him I loved him," Dillon said. "Then he said, 'I have to go.'"
A bachelor, Mr. Ruben, 36, lived in Hoboken with his cats, Dusty and Luna. He enjoyed playing golf and tinkering with cars. He had been rebuilding an MG at a friend's house in Glen Ridge. An amateur carpenter, he made furniture and toy boxes for family and friends.
"He will work on anything he can get his hands on," said his sister, Hillary Hans of Washington Township in Bergen County. "He liked to make things work right."
Raised in Montclair, Mr. Ruben graduated from Montclair High School in 1983. He graduated from Ithaca College and earned a master's degree in business administration at New York University.
He worked for the Fort Lee investment firm Kramer Spellman for seven years before moving to KBW earlier this year.
Mr. Ruben's father died of cancer 18 years ago. After his mother died of cancer five years ago, he tattooed his parents' initials over his heart: "M.P." for Marjorie and Peter.
"We miss him dearly," Hans said. "It was just the three of us, and now it's just the two of us."
A memorial service will be held 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 14 at Temple Israel, 475 Grove St. in Ridgewood.
Contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity Newark for the Ron Ruben House or to the Montclair Education Fund for Ron Ruben in care of Leslie Dillon, 603 Berkshire Valley Rd., Wharton, N.J. 07885.
Profile by Rebecca Goldsmith published in THE STAR-LEDGER.