William L. (Bill) Ruggles, 89, died Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Bartlesville.
The family will receive friends at the Davis Family Funeral Home, (918-534-3030), 113 S. Osage (Hwy. 75), Dewey, on Sunday, March 23, 2014, from 4-6 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 11am on Monday, March 24, 2014 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1501 SE Swan Drive. Bishop Hansen will preside. Burial will follow at the Bartlesville Memorial Park Cemetery immediately following the funeral service. Military rites will be provided by the James T. Teel, American Legion Post 105 Honor Guard. Services are under the direction of Carter Davis and the Davis Family Funeral Home. Online condolences and remembrances may be shared with Bill Ruggles' family at www.DavisFamilyFuneralHome.com.
In lieu of flowers, friends wishing to honor Bill's memory may do so by contributing to the Bartlesville Lincoln Elementary School Scholarship (BLESS) Fund, a non-interest bearing college loan program sponsored by Service & Technology Corporation, 105 SW Penn, Bartlesville, OK 74003, phone 918-336-8161, or to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Missionary Fund, c/o Bishop Hansen, 5723 Woodland Road, Bartlesville, OK 74006.
Survivors include one daughter (Helen Bristol) and her family, and five sons (David, Brent, Steve, Tracy, and Tim Ruggles) and their families. These families include 19 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren, plus 4 on the way. Bill is also survived by one younger brother (Bob) and his family of Tallahassee, Florida, and very dear friend Molly Ferguson of Bartlesville. He was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Catharine (Brown) Ruggles; by his parents William Spencer Ruggles Jr. and Rosalie (Brigham) Ruggles; and one grandson Craig William Ruggles.
Although born in Winfield, Kansas, in 1925, Bill moved with his parents to Emporia, Kansas, when he was two years old. During the 15 years he lived there, he attended the elementary, junior high and high schools affiliated with Kansas State Teacher's College (now Emporia State University). He graduated from that institution's Roosevelt High School in 1942 at age 17. While in high school, Bill participated in basketball, band, orchestra, drama and student government, as well as being selected as a delegate to Boys State. He also delivered newspapers for the well-known William Allen White's Emporia Gazette.
Bill attended the University of Kansas at Lawrence as a civil engineering student from Fall 1942 to Spring 1943 during World War II
. He also enlisted in the U.S. Navy
Reserve in December 1942. he was ordered to active duty in July 1947 and assigned to the Navy V-12 engineering training unit back at KU. He graduated in June 1945 at age 20 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. In doing so, he followed the footsteps of his father and paternal grandfather who were also civil engineers.
Following his KU graduation, the Navy sent Bill to its Civil Engineer Corps Midshipman and Officer schools at Camp Endicott, Rhode Island. He was commissioned as an Ensign in September 1945 and ordered to report to the 35th Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) in the Philippine Islands, serving both in Manila and Subic Bay. Bill and Catherine were married in Lawrence on Oct. 7, 1945, during a short leave he had en route from Rhode Island to the Philippines.
Following his release to inactive duty by the Navy on July 4, 1946, Bill rejoined Catharine in Lawrence and obtained short-term employment with the Kansas Highway Department. He then began work on a Master's degree at KU in the fall of 1946. Finishing his classes and most of his thesis, Bill and Catharine moved to Bartlesville in November 1947 when he was employed by Phillips Petroleum Company. He received his Master's degree the following June (1948).
Bill held a variety of positions during the 38 years he was with Phillips, ultimately becoming Director of Refining Engineering Services. He retired from Phillips in June 1986 but soon joined, part-time, both Bartlett Equipment Company of Tulsa, OK, and Services and Technology Corporation (STC) a Bartlesville consulting engineering firm. The STC job eventually developed into full-time employment. Although originally planning to stay with that firm only 2-3 years, Bill actually worked for it 10 years full-time, 2 years half-time, and intermittingly since. He served STC as a Senior Engineer, Director of Business and Professional Development, a Vice President and as a member of its Board of Director.
Bill participated in various Naval Reserve activities until 1962 when he was honorably discharged as Lieutenant. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and held a number of volunteer positions with that church's local organization. He also was active in community youth activities, serving as both a baseball and basketball coach, team father, league director, etc. In addition, he was on the Bartlesville Junior Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and chaired the local chapter's Civic Improvement and Youth Activities committees, as well as the "Jaycee" State4 Youth Activities committee. Bill was also "Jaycee" representative on the Bartlesville Children's Welfare Services committee, as well as serving on and chairing the Chamber of Commerce Sewage Disposal sub-committee which developed a master plan for serving areas outside the Bartlesville city limits as they existed in the mid-1950s. Bill was a member of the Bartlesville American Legion Post #105.
Bill served for six years on the large American Petroleum Institute Committee on Refinery Equipment and chaired that group for two years before retiring from Phillips. That committee prepared and updated many of the recommended standards and specifications used for petroleum refinery equipment. He was also an active member of the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers and, in 1981, was selected as the Bartlesville chapter's "Outstanding Engineer in Management." He was further honored by the state OPSE organization by being selected as its 1999 "Fellow" in recognition of his character, achievements and his then 54-year career.