Robert "Bob" Ruiz, Major, U.S. Army, Retired, a 24-year resident of Maryland, passed away at his home on July 13, 2014, at the age of 70, surrounded by his loving wife and daughter. He was born in Kingsville, Texas, to Marciano V. and Trinidad B. Ruiz, of Robstown, Texas. Robert attended Robstown Public Schools, graduating high school in 1963. He went on to attend Texas A&I University in Kingsville, Texas, where he joined R.O.T.C. in his freshman year and was a member of the Kings Rifles Drill Team. Upon graduation, Robert was commissioned as a distinguished military graduate into the U.S. Army as a Chemical Corps Officer, later serving a one-year detail to the Armor Branch. He attended Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, before being assigned as a platoon leader with the 2/13th Armor First Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas. Following his one-year detail, Robert was selected for early admittance to the Chemical Officer Advanced Course at Fort McClellan, Alabama, to the Armor Branch. From 1970-71, Robert served his country in Vietnam with the Saigon Support Command as a Captain in the Chemical Corps. Once his tour of duty in Vietnam was completed, he served as the Assistant Division Chemical Officer with the 3rd Infantry Division in Wurzburg, Germany. Robert earned his Masters of Science degree in Counseling and Public School Administration from the University of Southern California before being assigned as the Assistant Professor of Military Science at Sienna College in Loudonville, New York, where he taught Military Leadership to senior R.O.T.C. cadets. In 1975, Robert joined the 2nd Brigade of the 49th Armored Division with the Texas Army National Guard, serving as the Headquarters Company Commander. He completed 20 years of service with the National Guard and continued his education with advanced post-graduate courses from the University of North Texas, also completing Command and General Staff College. Robert was extremely proud of having served his country and his years in the military. His awards and decorations include: Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Vietnam Campaign Medal. In 1985, Robert embarked on a distinguished career with the federal government, including the U.S. General Services Administration and managerial and executive positions with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Department of Treasury, receiving numerous recognitions and awards throughout his federal career. Following his retirement, Robert became a part-time Safety and Occupational Health Consultant for The Chesapeake Regional Safety Council, conducting training for clients in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Texas. Robert will be well-remembered as a charismatic and engaging man with a quick wit, an easy smile, and a lively sense of humor, a man who easily made friends wherever he went. It was a special skill of his to be able to walk into a room full of strangers and later leave, having easily made several good friends. No matter his title and regardless of his plans for a given time or day, teaching was Robert's true calling. He always took care to offer encouragement and motivation to those closest to him as well as to his students. Wherever he was and whatever the subject, people responded to his enthusiasm and humor and the guidance he offered connected with many. Robert and his wife loved to travel, visit museums, art shows, and lectures. He was an artist who created beautiful pencil sketches and paintings. He enjoyed playing poker, loved to read and, perhaps most of all, he loved to sail on the Chesapeake with his friends and fellow members of the Annapolis Naval Sailing Association. During their 46 years of marriage and military assignments, Robert and Magdalena lived in several states, building and maintaining many long-lasting friendships. During the course of their 3+ years in Germany, the couple toured Switzerland, England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, and Austria, maximizing every opportunity to travel and explore places within and around Germany, fully enjoying the people and culture. Robert is preceded in death by his daughter, Lisa Diane Naegele; his father, Marciano V. Ruiz; and his brother, Richard. He is survived by his beloved high school sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Magdalena; his loving daughter, Deborah Krystyn; cherished and profoundly loved grandchildren, Kyle Alexander and Krystyn Nicole Naegele; his beloved mother, Trinidad B. Ruiz; and a sister, Petra Zuniga. Robert is also survived by a large family of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews with whom he loved visiting at every opportunity. The times spent together recalling childhood memories, socializing and generally having fun counted among his favorite. Very dear and close to his heart were his now deceased grandparents, Marcelo and Felipa Benavidez. Robert's wife and daughter are extremely grateful to his doctors and medical teams at The University of Maryland Medical Center. In lieu of flowers, Robert's family asks that you please consider making a charitable donation in his name to the Department of Surgery, Transplantation Division, or to the Greenebaum Cancer Center, both at The University of Maryland Medical Center, 22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201. Services are pending with inurnment to be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. A memorial Celebration of Life is also pending in Robert's hometown, Robstown, Texas. Online condolences may be made at

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Published in The Washington Post on July 20, 2014