Obituary: Ruehl, Gordon Ernest
Nineteen months after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma (asbestos cancer) Gordon E. Ruehl (FAIA) died peacefully in his sleep April 29, 2012. Gordon was born August 14, 1934 in Denver, Colorado to Benjamin and Myrtle (Peters) Ruehl. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Spokane.
Gordon attended Garfield and Jefferson elementary and graduated in 1952 from Lewis & Clark where he was an All-City track champion in the 880, a member of the All-City Cross Country Team and the President of both the junior class and the Boy’s Federation. Upon graduation, he attended Washington State College where he ran varsity track and was President of Sigma Phi Epsilon. After completing his Architectural Engineering degree he was commissioned as a Navy Ensign and served his country in Sasebo, Japan.
As partner and former Chairman of the Board of Integrus Architecture, he was Principal in Charge of the Holy Names Convent, which received a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects, the Spokane Opera House and Convention Center (now INB), the campus plan for the Spokane Higher Education Park, both downtown Spokane Farm Credit Bank Buildings (now Wells Fargo), as well as many other notable structures around the state and throughout the West. He also served as president of both the Spokane and Washington Chapters of the American Institute of Architects, and was recognized for his contributions to his profession with induction to the National College of Fellows of the AIA, in 1986. In 2006, The Convent of the Holy Names honored his work from original design to the current renovation of their facility with the Holy Names Award.
Gordon’s ties to WSU were strong. In addition to rooting on his beloved Cougars, he was named Dad of the Year 1980-81, served as President of the Parent’s Association 1981-82, was a member of the WSU Foundation and received their Outstanding Service Award in 1997, and was Co-Chairman for the Engineering & Architecture Campaign-WSU 1996. Later in his career and into retirement, he acted as Design Disciplines Board Chairman for WSU Spokane. His civic involvement included Downtown Rotary Club #21, the Boy Scouts of America, and serving on the Executive Committee of the Fairmount Association Board. Gordon was also a 50 year member of Westminster Congregational UCC church, where he served as church Moderator, Trustee, and sang in the choir for over 35 years.
In retirement, Gordon was even busier than before, as he and his wife made multiple trips each to Europe, Alaska, and Hawaii. As a proud Papa, he rarely missed any of his grandchildren’s games, concerts or dance recitals. And summers were reserved for the lake, where he could show off his incredible hospitality by hosting friends and family at their Priest Lake home.
Gordon is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Janet. His children and their families: daughter Kathleen and husband Doug Robinson of Roscoe, IL and their children Christine Sheil (Eoin), Ryan, Laura, and Chase; son Kevin and wife Erin (Byrne) of Spokane and their children Marshall, Parker and Paige; and son Scott and wife DeAnna (Griffin) of Boise, ID and their daughter Isabelle. He is also survived by brother and sister-in-law, John and Joan Weekes, and sister-in-law, Marge Ruehl, all of Spokane; and nephews John Weekes Jr., Kirk Ruehl, and niece Debbie Ruehl.
Gordon was pre-deceased by his parents, and older brother Ben Ruehl. The Memorial Service will be held at 3PM Wednesday, May 16 at Westminster Congregational UCC Church, corner of Fourth and Washington, with reception following.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests that memorials may be made to Hospice of Spokane, Westminster Congregational Church, to WSU School of Architecture c/o Greg Kessler, PO Box 64220, Pullman WA 99163 or to the charity of your choice.
We are thankful for 75 wonderful years of health and vitality, but mourn for the years we’ve been shorted. We will miss you in so many ways, Gordon/Dad/Papa, but we know we will see you again.