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Nate Ruben passed away on January 12, 2014 at the age of 97 at the Iowa Jewish Senior Life Center. Graveside services will be 11 a.m. today, Monday, January 13 at Jewish Glendale Cemetery.
Nate was born in Albia, Iowa on July 4, 1916, the son of Harry and Bessie Long Ruben. He attended Albia High School, and then the University of Iowa, where he graduated in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Pharmacy. In 1941, he married Ruth Subotnik from Cedar Rapids, who was also a University of Iowa graduate. He served in the Army, holding the rank of Staff Sargent from 1942-45, following which he worked at Standard Chemical Company in Des Moines, and later was co-owner of Ruben-Hill Pharmacy in Beaverdale. After leaving the retail pharmacy business, he managed the drug and nonfood departments for Thirftway Drug Company. He left Thriftway to establish non-food and, later, paint and household goods departments in a national chain of government discount stores. Subsequently, he held a number of positions at Iowa Paint Company, the last of which was Executive Vice President. In 1969, he was appointed State Director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a position he held for nine years, at which time he was appointed Area Director of HUD for Iowa and Nebraska. He remained in that position until his retirement in 1982. He has been a resident of the Iowa Jewish Senior Life Center since January, 2013.
During his years as State and Area Director of HUD, Nate served on various federal task forces and research committees at the direction of the Secretaries of HUD. In addition, he was the recipient of a number of awards for distinguished service at the local, state and national level.
Throughout his career, Nate was dedicated to serving the needs of the less fortunate, and was active in civic and community service. He served as Vice Chairman of the Governor's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped, and was a member of the President's Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. He also served as a member of the Community Board of Directors of the Des Moines Housing Authority.
Nate was also committed to making a personal contribution to Jewish life in Des Moines. From 1967-74, he served in the positions of President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Iowa Jewish Home, and was an active member of Tifereth Israel Synagogue and Beth El Jacob Synagogues. For many years. he served as an active member of the Board of Directors of Beth El Jacob Synagogue.
Nate was preceded in death by his older brother, David, his younger sister, Dorothy, and his wife, Ruth. He is survived by two children, Brent Ruben, who resides with his wife, Jann, in Hillsborough, New Jersey (and by their son, Marc, daughter Robbi, her husband Matt Urm, and their children Rebecca, Nathan and Nicholas); and by Dennis and his wife, Nancy, who reside in Scottsdale, Arizona (and by their children, Lauren, Brian and Daniel).
Memorial contributions may be made to the Iowa Jewish Senior Life Center and Tifereth Israel Synagogue in Des Moines. Condolences may be expressed at www.IlesCares.com.
Published in Des Moines Register on Jan. 13, 2014