Pat Ruhl died August 14, 1994, in the fifty-fourth year of a full, caring and richly lived life. Diagnosed with cancer in 1992, Pat fought his battle with courage and dry wit. He never failed to provide support to family and others where he could, as evidenced by a trip to South Carolina in the spring of 1993 to work on a Habitat for Humanity project.
Amherst and his friends were never far from Pat’s thoughts. Pat, his wife Kathy, and a large contingent of Amherst friends spent a memorable Homecoming ’93 at Amherst, a special treat for Pat. We spent a June weekend with Pat toward the end, and like everyone who came in contact with Pat and Kathy in this period, saw first-hand evidence of his great strength in the face of extreme adversity.
Pat came to Amherst from Davenport, IA, in the heartland of America. Like so many of his fraternity brothers in Psi Upsilon, Pat knew how to work hard and play hard. His dry humor and infectious grin radiated throughout the halls of the Amherst campus. That they are now so early stilled is a loss to all who knew and loved Pat Ruhl.
After graduation, Pat earned an MBA from NorthwesternUniversity in 1965. He married Kathy Kehoe (Smith ‘64) on July 17, 1965. Kathy was his college sweetheart and well known throughout the Amherst community, both in that role and from her many appearances on the Kirby Theatre stage, most notably as Joan of Arc in “St. Joan.” Pat’s entire career was in consumer marketing with various businesses in the Chicago area. He became vice president of marketing for Monogram Revell and during his illness was director of marketing for Western Publishing Company. He maintained a home in Wilmette, IL, for over twenty-five years.
Throughout life, Pat was a voracious and curious reader, lover of the theater, and avid traveler. Europe and Cape Cod in the summer and his childhood haunts in Davenport were favorite spots. Photography and tennis were consuming passions.
A devoted family man, Pat is survived by his wife, Kathy; two children, Kate and Sarah; brother Mike Ruhl; nieces; nephews, and many in-laws, including Kathy’s brother John Kehoe ‘70. The following poem, written by Pat shortly before his death about his support group at the CancerWellnessCenter, captures the spirit of Patrick Gregg Ruhl.
The men gather around the candle, wrestling with the ineffable
The god of cancer has claimed another of his picks
We remain; trying to penetrate the fog drifting in from the Styx
The silent boatman slowly disappears into the gloom
The flickering candle affirms the life force still vibrant in the room
Predators hunch patiently outside our circle of fire
While a shaft of radiance suddenly lights a heavenly pyre
Faith and love draw these men close
They share with each other a weekly host
Outside the circle is cancer and despair
Inside the light is hope and repair
To all the members of Pat’s family, his class and all his Amherst friends extend their condolences.
A. Bruce Bowden ‘63
Thomas T. Hanford ‘62