A Class Act: Peers describe Ruch as a well-liked, kind person
He was a devoted husband, dedicated supervisor, and stalwart of the community.
Over the course of his lifetime, Franklin L. Ruch served as such, often with a smile on his face.
Ruch not only fulfilled those roles, but did so with integrity, according to those who knew him.
Ruch, 54, of Lehighton, died in a crash Monday evening at the intersection of routes 865 and 61 in Schuylkill County.
He was the husband of Lori C. (Ziegenfuss) Ruch. They were married for 31 years last May 16.
Before his passing, Ruch was employed with the Pa. Turnpike Commission as the District 5 Operations Manager.
He also served as chairman of the Mahoning Township board of supervisors.
To many of his peers, Ruch was the personification of a class act.
Township secretary Natalie Haggerty, who worked with Ruch, described him as a kind individual.
“Frank was very well liked, we will all miss him very much,” Haggerty said. “He was very dedicated as a supervisor.”
As she choked back tears, Haggerty spoke of the many solid attributes Ruch possessed.
“Frank always had a smile on his face; he was just so easy going, lighthearted and he just always made the best of it,” she said. “A very good guy; we’re going to miss him tremendously.”
Haggerty described some of Ruch’s selfless acts.
“He did give a lot to the community of Mahoning, not just as a supervisor; he just went above and beyond,” she said.
“He was always ‘I’ll do it’, just volunteer. He really served this community well, and we’re all going to miss him.”
Ruch was a member of St. Peter’s Church in West Penn, and The Mahoning Union Sunday school.
But, he was perhaps best known around these circles for his other affiliations.
Ruch was a member of The Lehighton Fire Company, The Mahoning Township Volunteer Fire Co., The Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Co., The Mahoning Ambulance Association, The Lehighton American Legion Post 314, Lehighton Lodge #621 F & AM, The Beaver Run Rod & Gun Club, The East Penn Sporting Club, The Andreas Sporting Club, & The Mahoning Valley Lions Club.
Mark Ebbert, Mahoning Valley Fire Chief, couldn’t help but get emotional as he shared his memories of Ruch.
“Frank was very dedicated to his community and all the organizations that he belonged to and that he served with,” Ebbert said. “Anything that he volunteered for he was committed to, he found time to do many things.
Ebbert said Ruch was extremely family-oriented.
“He was just a great guy and found time to help everybody else,” he said. “He was always on the go and took care of his family and friends.”
Above all else, Ebbert said Ruch will be remembered fondly by all those who knew him.
“Everything he did, he just always gave 100 percent,” he said. “He made a huge impact on a lot of people.”
Surviving in addition to his wife and mother is a sister, Marilynn Ruch, two brothers, Brian Ruch and his wife Roxanne, Stephen Ruch, a son, Brandon Ruch of Lehighton, nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by an infant daughter, Amy Beth Ruch.
Carbon County Coroner Robert Miller, who also serves as treasurer of the ambulance association, said Ruch wasn’t above lending a helping hand when called upon.
“I knew Frank more as Brian’s (Ruch) brother, Brian runs with us, he works in the kitchen,” Miller said. “(Frank) worked in the kitchen every once in a while; anytime we needed him, he and his wife, if they were free, they would definitely come out and give us a hand.”
Funeral services for Ruch will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Peter’s Church, 184 St. Peters Road, Tamaqua, with the Rev. Kenneth T. Melber Jr. officiating.
Call Friday from 6-8 p.m. at The Ovsak Funeral Home, 190 S. 4th St., Lehighton, and from 9-10 a.m. Saturday at the church. Masonic Services 5:45 p.m. on Friday. Interment in St. Peters adjoining parish cemetery.
Memorial Contributions in his name may be made to the Mahoning Valley Volunteer Fire Co., 2358 Mahoning Drive West., Lehighton, Pa. 18235 or The Mahoning Valley Ambulance Assoc. 902 Mill Road, Lehighton, Pa. 18235.