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Our loving God and Savior called our Dad, Vernon D "Buzz" Ruggenberg, home on November 16, 2016. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." That phrase perfectly describes our Dadwas born on April 16, 1927 in Miller, South Dakota. He and his twin sister, Valda, were the youngest of seven children. When Dad was nine, the "dust bowl" forced the family to leave what was once a very successful ranch and move to St. Maries, Idaho. Because his mother and father had already raised five children to adulthood and were starting "from scratch" in a new town, Dad was put to work at any farm they could find to board him out. Oh, the stories he has told about that part of his life. With an eighth grade education, he accomplished so much. At the age of about 16, he started driving logging trucks until, as he said, Uncle Sam needed help ending World War II so he called on Dad. After a very short time, the war ended. He returned to St. Maries to continue logging and began dating Jacque Yenor, the love of his life, whose father owned the bank in St. Maries. They married November 5, 1949 and Dad often said he never could understand how he, a broken down logger, was lucky enough to marry the banker's daughter. Of course, anyone who knew our Dad knew how he was able to accomplish that. After their marriage, they moved to Portland, Oregon, where he attended diesel mechanics school. Upon completion of school, they moved to Spokane, where they built their life. Dad began working at Consolidated Freightways (CF) driving truck. Dad never knew a stranger and loved entertaining people with his many jokes and stories, so it was not long before he began dispatching and soon thereafter became a sales rep. His real love in the trucking business was with cranes and heavy equipment, so he took a job with Beardmore, which was the heaving hauling/crane division of CF. He was then offered a job at B-Line Transport and Crane Service and eventually became one of the owners. There were many very interesting adventures, but the one he spoke of most was working with the US Navy moving test submarines to Bayview, offloading them from the rail and hauling them to and putting them in Lake Pend O'Reille. Dad's passion, and probably the only relaxation he enjoyed, as fishing. Almost every weekend was spent either at his place at SunUp Bay on Lake Couer d'Alene, or chasing the biggest fish on the West Arm of the Kootenay River or on Lake Koocanusa, Flathead Lake or Hauser Lake in Montana. As much as Dad accomplished in his very interesting life, his far greatest achievement was his family. He always bragged about them to the point we are convinced most of his family and friends must have left this world before him to escape the stories. He and Jacque raised two daughters, Susan (Jim) Price and Debi (Jack) Montgomery. In 1985, a dream came true for him when he was able to be united with his son, Doug (Diane) Farrell. He is also survived by 9 grandchildren and numerous great and great-great grandchildren, all of whom live within about one hour of where he has resided. Finally, he is survived by many nieces and nephews most of whom not only thought of our Dad as their favorite uncle (okay, I may have taken some liberty here), but also as a dear friend and brother. Dad was preceded in death by his wife, Jacque, and infant daughter, Sharon, his parents, John and Welthia, brothers, Harold, Myles, Don and Keith, and his sisters, Joy and Valda. Dad's very devoted cat, Nikki, also left this earth before him. We children always knew not to ask Dad who his favorite loved one was because they knew they wouldn't like the answer - it would probably be Nikki.) There is no doubt in any of our minds that the welcome he received in heaven was a grand one and that he is, at this very moment, entertaining the heavenly hosts with his jokes and his stories.
A short graveside service will take place December 4, 2016 at 1:00 p.m., at Pines Cemetery, 1402 S. Pines Road, followed by a memorial service and meal at the Spokane Valley Elks at 2:30 p.m.
The family would like to give our heartfelt thank you to the administration and staff at Guardian Angel Homes in Post Falls, without whom we could never have gotten through the last few weeks. They truly are "guardian angels" on earth who loved and cared for our father as they would have cared for their own. We would also like to thank Auburn Crest Hospice for the wonderful care they provided for Dad and our family. In lieu of flowers, the family would encourage donations to the Salvation Army, Union Gospel Mission or the charity of your choice.