James Plew "Jim" Ruckel (1951 - 2014)

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James Plew "Jim" Ruckel, 62, of Niceville, Fla. passed away on Aug. 20, 2014, surrounded by family and friends. He was born on Oct. 4, 1951, in Valparaiso, Fla. He attended Valparaiso Elementary School and graduated from Greenville High School in Greenville, Texas. He attended college at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas.
Jim owned a clothing store in Austin, Texas before returning to Florida where he became a construction contractor. He earned his real estate broker's license and worked for Ruckel Properties from 1979 to 2012, the last seven years of which he was president. His contributions to the company include development work on commercial and residential projects including Shirk's Bayou Estates, Dana Point, Indian Shores, Forest Lake, Rocky Bayou Country Club Estates, Fairway Woods, Heritage Gardens Cemetery & Funeral Home, Swift Creek, a Tom Thumb convenience store complex, Hawk's Landing, and laying the groundwork for an upcoming 1100-acre project. In June of 2012, the board of directors of Ruckel Properties bestowed upon Jim the title President Emeritus for his many years of service. Jim was inducted into the Niceville-Valparaiso Rotary Club in 1998; he was a past Rotary Club president and assistant district governor. He was also a member and past president of the Military Affairs Committee of the Niceville-Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.
Jim loved country music and playing guitar; he was a huge fan of Willie Nelson and Elvis. He was a car enthusiast and an avid outdoorsman, who loved to hunt, fish, and play golf. He enjoyed scuba diving in Florida, hunting in Alabama and Canada, and traveling in the Rocky Mountains, especially to his second home in Colorado. He enjoyed learning about the history of the Old West and watching westerns on television. He was proud and overjoyed about the birth of his grandson, Waylon.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Walter "Walt" Ruckel Jr. and Gilda Meaut Barber; and son, Jason Christopher Ruckel. He is survived by his sons, Howard Madison Ruckel (Kelli) of Charleston, S.C. and James Plew "Jamie" Ruckel Jr. of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; grandson, Waylon Ruckel of Charleston; siblings, Chuck Ruckel (Molly) of Lucas, Texas; Greg Ruckel (Rose) of Alto, N.M.; Steve Ruckel (Rhonda) of Niceville, Fla.; Marty Ruckel (Phyllis) of Niceville; Marion Ruckel Skalicky (Andre) of Niceville; Sharon Ruckel of Athens, Ga.; Phil Ruckel of College Station, Texas; longtime girlfriend, Lynda Anderson of Niceville; stepfather, Col. William Barber of Gulfport, .Miss.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Visitation will be held on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Heritage Gardens Funeral Home, with funeral services beginning at noon. Interment will follow in Heritage Gardens Cemetery.
You may go online to offer condolences to the family and sign the guestbook at www.heritagegardensfuneralhome.com. Heritage Gardens Funeral Home of Niceville is entrusted with the arrangements.
Funeral Home
Heritage Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery
2201 N Partin Dr
Niceville, FL 32578
(850) 729-1955
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Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News from Aug. 23 to Aug. 24, 2014
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