The Mount Gilead community mourns the loss of a great man, their protector, former Police Chief Robert D. “Bob” Ruhl Sr. He died peacefully on Monday, January 8, 2018, at home surrounded by his loving family, following a courageous battle with cancer. He was 72 years old.
On August 28, 1945, Bob was born in Galion, Ohio, to Laura (Woodward) Ruhl and the late Donald M. Ruhl. In his youth, he attended Pleasant Grove Church of Christ and Johnsville High School. He left school early to work for Herb and Margaret Litt, showing cattle at county and state fairs. He went on to own an excavating business and worked for Mansfield Asphalt while attending Ohio Police Officer Training Academy (OPOTA).
After long days of training at the police academy, Bob enjoyed stopping for pie and tea at the Freeway Inn restaurant, where Norma Walton was a cook and took a liking to Bob. Subsequently, Norma helped set up a blind date with Bob and her daughter, Vicky Walton. That blind date was on October 20, 1967, and for Bob, life would never be the same. He quickly knew she was the one, proposing two short months later, and they were married on July 20, 1968. Bob and Vicky were best friends and soul mates and felt blessed to spend the past forty-nine and a half years building a wonderful life together, with their three children and their families.
In August of 1968, Bob joined the Mount Gilead Police Department, a job he took with great pride. He served as an officer until 1976, when he was promoted to Chief. Police Chief Bob Ruhl was a great leader for the community, his officers will tell you he never asked them to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. Story after story could be told about how Bob was an inspiring teacher and mentor to the officers in his care. Further, Bob loved the people of the Mount Gilead community, serving them for a total of twenty eight years, until his retirement in 1993.
Many in the Mount Gilead community will also remember Bob on his many lawnmowers. For many years he enjoyed working with his son, Bobby Jr., mowing lawns all over the county for their business, B & B Lawn Care. He also loved using his tractors to pull the children of the community around in “Bob’s Barrels of Fun”.
A true outdoorsman, Bob had a lifelong passion for hunting and anything gun related. He often taught hunter safety, and was an original member of the Morrow County Conservation Club, Life Member of the NRA, Life Member of the Ohio Gun Collectors Club, Tri-State Gun Collectors, Mansfield Gun Club and the Handlebar Ranch Archery Club. Bob was a very skilled gunsmith and marksman, and had a gun or bow in his hands for most of his life. He operated “Ruhl’s Gun Shop” out of his home for nearly twenty years, teaching hundreds of people to respect firearms and enjoy safe shooting.
A big kid at heart, Bob was often asked by kids in his neighborhood to “come out and play.” He always loved plowing snow, and couldn’t help himself but to always build a snowman before the work was done.
Whenever you think of Bob Ruhl, you will always think of a true gentleman who had a twinkle in his eyes and a smile that took all your troubles away. He was a man who always performed random acts of kindness, and who firmly believed in supporting the local businesses of the community. Filled with gratitude, Bob always said “thank you” for even the smallest deed. To his family, he was their “Hero”, especially to his precious grandchildren.
Left to cherish his memory are his beloved wife, Vicky Ruhl; three children: Robert “Bobby” (Shannon) Ruhl Jr., Robyn (Matt) Graham, and Rachel (John) Phipps; five grandchildren: Thomas Ruhl, Gavin and Mallory Graham, and Alex and Ava Phipps; his mother, Laura Ruhl; two brothers: David (Dayle) Ruhl, and Edwin (Judy) Ruhl; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Including his father, Bob was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law, Frank (Carol) Ruhl.
His family will greet friends from 1-7 p.m. on Sunday, January 14, 2018, at the Snyder Funeral Homes, Craven Chapel, 67 N. Main St. Mount Gilead, where local officers will stand to honor his police service. They will again greet friends on Monday from 10-11 a.m., where services celebrating his life will follow at 11 a.m., with his friend and former officer, Pastor Garry Stevens, officiating. Police honors will then follow outside the funeral home. The community is invited to dress warmly and surround the downtown monument in Mount Gilead, as the Mount Gilead Police and Fire Departments will perform Bob’s last ride through town. For those not attending the funeral, but would like to honor him, this procession will take place at approximately 12:00 Noon.
On behalf of Bob’s family, they would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone in the Blood and Marrow Transplant unit on the 14th floor at the Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital, for making Bob feel like family and enduring his 50’s music. Also, “thank you” to everyone with Hospice of Morrow County for making Bob so comfortable at home in his final days.
In keeping with Bob’s wishes, flowers would be welcome if purchased from local florists to help support the community. If you wish to make a memorial contribution, please support Hospice of Morrow County, 228 South St., Mount Gilead, OH 43338 or Mount Gilead Police K-9 Unit or Mount Gilead Fire Dept., 72 West High St, Mount Gilead, OH 43338.
Snyder Funeral Homes of Mount Gilead are honored to serve Bob’s family and your thoughts may be shared with them via www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com.