William G. Ruddy, 76, passed away Nov. 26th after a year's battle with bone marrow cancer, or multiple myeloma.
He was born July 19, 1937 in Ansonia Connecticut, and graduated from Yale University in 1959 and Yale Law School in 1962.
He served in Army Intelligence and spent a summer working for the Bank of Brussels and wrote a thesis for law school about reasons for formation of the European Common Market. He attended the Sorbonne Cours de Civilization in the summer of 1959.
Bill worked for the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington D.C., before being recruited to come to Alaska to work for the Attorney General's office to evaluate the steamship contracts. He drove across country with his first wife Susan Lynch Ruddy in 1964, and after the attorney general's work, joined Robertson, Monagle, Eastaugh & Annis (later Robertson, Mondagle, Eastaugh & Bradley) from 1965 to 1985. He served in the Alaska National Guard from 1962 to 1968.
Bill and his wife Kathy Kolkhorst were married in 1979. In 1986 Bill, Kathy and Jim Bradley opened Ruddy, Bradley & Kolkhorst, a law firm which continues to the present.
Bill used his knowledge of the Russian language and history to connect with the Russian Far East. In 1989 he was invited by the Soviet Ministry of Aviation to tour aviation facilities in the USSR. In 1997, after the fall of the Soviet Union, he helped found an American law firm in Russia with his college classmate-- Russin & Vecchi. He worked in the Vladivostok office of Russin & Vecchi from 1996 to 2005.
Bill and his wife Kathy renovated and operate the Princeton Hall, a wooden boat built by Tlingit, Haida and Tsimpsian students at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka and launched three days before Pearl Harbor. The U.S. Navy seized the vessel for wartime service in troop transport and mine sweeping; after the war the Presbyterian Church used the boat to link with people in the local island villages. After renovation, the Princeton Hall has been inspiration and guide to explore the bays and coves of southeast Alaska. The boat is a member of the Classic Yacht Association.
Bill participated in starting the Juneau Volunteer Marching Band in 1976, when he noticed that the July 4th Parade lacked music. He played trumpet in that band until last year, and also for several years in the Juneau Symphony. He also played for many years in the Juneau Student Symphony, Juneau's intergenerational music group. He organized a travelling Dixieland band called "The Ruble Rousers" (Vdoxnoviteli Rublei) and took the band to the Russian Far East in 1994 to help plant Rotary clubs in Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. He also played trumpet in the St. Paul Singers, the Chapel Brass and the Juneau Concert Band.
Every year before Juneau's Fireworks at midnight July 3rd, the Princeton Hall carries members of the Juneau Volunteer Marching Band in front of the waterfront docks so people can enjoy hearing band music--mostly Sousa-- along with the fireworks.
Bill taught International Business at the University of Alaska Southeast, and was President of the Juneau Glacier Valley Rotary Club.
He is survived by his wife Kathy Kolkhorst Ruddy, and children Lydia Ruddy of Jakarta, Indonesia; Sean (Pauline) Ruddy of Anchorage and Halibut Cove, Alaska; Anna (Jason) Speichinger of Nairobi, Kenya; and Elena (Forrest) Merrill of Missoula, Montana; grandchildren Ezra and Ruth Speichinger of Nairobi, Kenya; and many foreign exchange students, mostly from Russia.
Services will be held at Chapel by the Lake Thursday Dec 5th at 3 p.m. with a reception to follow. All are welcome.
Donations may be made to Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Inc. and Hospice and Home Care of Juneau.
Published in The Juneau Empire on Nov. 28, 2013