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Al Rugg died peacefully in his sleep last December 24 at home in Greenfield, MA, after attending Christmas Eve services with his wife, Mary Ann. He was eighty six.
Al came to Amherst by way of the Greenfield public school system and Deerfield Academy. He was preceded at Amherst by a grandfather, an uncle, and his father in the classes of 1882, 1910, and 1914 respectively. In college, he joined Chi Phi fraternity, served on the Intramural Council, and was a solid student, graduating cum laude at our Class’s accelerated ceremony in January, 1943. He joined the navy in the V-7 program and shortly after graduation received training at Columbia Univ. to earn a commission as an ensign. He was assigned for further training at the Harvard Business School and became a supply officer serving at Pearl Harbor. Following the war, Al returned home to join the family business, Rugg Manufacturing Company, in Greenfield, where he spent his entire business career until his retirement in 1990. Under Al’s leadership the company grew and prospered.
Shortly after receiving his navy commission, Al married Louise Bassett of Scarsdale, NY. Their marriage produced four daughters and a son. Sadly, Louise, whom many of us knew from Class Reunions, died from cancer in 1998. Al remarried in 2006 to Mary Ann Krenzke, a parishoner of the Second Congregational Church in Greenfield, of which Al was a lifelong member. It was at our Class mini-reunions in 2006 and 2007 that we got to meet and enjoy the company of Mary Ann with Al.
Before his death I was only vaguely aware of the scope of Al’s activities outside his company business, because Al himself was not one to talk about his accomplishments. It took his obituary in a local newspaper to show me the extent to which he applied his hard work and leadership skills in helping the wider community in which he lived. Along with serving in leadership positions with industry associations and civic organizations, Al served the Greenfield Second Congregational Church as superintendent, as teacher in the church school, and as chairman of the Stewardship Committee. He was also a board member of the Franklin Medical Center, helped found the Franklin/Hampshire Community Mental Health Center, served on its board for twenty years, and served other community organizations too numerous to list here.
We of the Amherst Class of 1943 were privileged to enjoy the benefit of Al’s leadership and generosity. For our Class he was a go-to guy for help in getting materials and services needed for Reunions and served as chairman of our 60th Reunion. For me personally he helped with advice on various local services when my wife and I moved from Virginia to Pelham, MA in 1993. In the fall of 2002 Al invited Ted and Jary Greene and my wife and I to lunch at his house to help him plan for our 60th Reunion, Al prepared a complete lunch for us, including an excellent apple pie he had baked himself. When my wife and I attended the celebration of Al’s life at his church, we had the pleasure of not only hearing from his children and grandchildren and all he had done for them, but of meeting most of them in person. We learned about the family hikes he took them on, his love of food and cooking, and how he had already prepared food for the family Christmas holiday celebration, which his death prevented him from attending in person but for which he was very much there in spirit.
In addition to Mary Ann, his five children and their spouses, Al is survived by his brother, William, his sister, Dorothy, twelve grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. At the same time we offer our sympathy for their loss, we also congratulate them for having the love and companionship of this devoted family man and generous community leader.
— Peter Ivy ’43