Father and beloved retired professor Mac Rugheimer, 79, formerly of Bozeman and Kalispell, died peacefully in his sleep on Feb. 4, 2010, at home with his daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Christian Schmid, in Cambridge, Mass. Born on Feb. 10, 1930, in Charleston, S.C., Mac was the bright, only child of Norman and Helen Rugheimer.
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At the young age of 16, he began university at the College of Charleston and went on to earn his Ph.D. in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1964, he started teaching physics and mathematics in Bozeman at Montana State University, and later added administrative duties as assistant dean of the College of Letters and Science at MSU.
Throughout his life, he asked friends and students to call him "Mac" rather than "Dr. Rugheimer." His passion for holography, three-dimensional photography with lasers, brought him a patent and the opportunity to travel the world, sharing his love of science with students everywhere. Even after retirement, Mac took his holographic road show to high schools, inspiring additional generations. Thousands of his students exclaimed, "Mac is the best teacher I ever had!"
Mac eventually relocated to Kalispell, where he dedicated his time and interests to Bible study, learning Hebrew and to his church communities. In his later years, Mac resided at Greenwood Village Assisted Living, supported by the attentive staff and helpful, dedicated owners. Mac was an active, sports-loving father who supported his children in trampoline and Irish Dance. Right until the end, he personally enjoyed exercising regularly at The Summit, making many friends and inspiring people who knew him with his dedication, optimism and cheerful smile.
Mac is survived by two sons, Peter (Lynn), and Paul (Stacey); two daughters, Mary Wictor (Johan), and Sarah Rugheimer (Christian Schmid); former wives, Hallie and Linda; and five grandsons, Erik, Alexander, Levi, Jackson and Nathan.
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at Evangelical Free Church in Bozeman; and 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at the United Methodist Church in Columbia Falls.
Condolences and memories may be sent to email@example.com.
Contributions in Mac's memory to help extend his teaching legacy and aid future students may be made to: Norman Mac Rugheimer Scholarship, Montana State University Foundation, P.O. Box 172750, Bozeman, MT 59717.
Please also visit http://www.physics.montana.edu/news/MacRugheimer.htm.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, 2010