In Memoriam: Rev. Robert Ruis (1932 - 2021)

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Bob Ruis was a Christ-focused and mission-focused man who, in the words of his children, left behind an everlasting legacy. Ruis died Sept. 30. 

Ruis was born in a farmhouse in rural Minnesota without running water or electricity and had only a wood-burning kitchen stove for heat. He graduated from Calvin College (now University) in 1954 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in pre-seminary courses. He then enlisted for three years in the U.S. Army. When tests demonstrated that he had an aptitude for languages, he was sent to the Monterey (Calif.) Army Language School for a year to learn the Korean language and was then sent overseas. 

After his military service, Ruis obtained a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Calvin Seminary. Following ordination in 1963 he served with Christian Reformed Home Missions (now Resonate Global Mission) in California working with Cuban refugees and Mexican migrant farm workers. In 1966 he became the first CRC missionary in Tijuana and Tecate, Mexico, where he and his family served for the next 14 years. In 1978 he received his Master of Divinity degree from Calvin Seminary. 

In 1980, Ruis accepted the call to pastor Bethlehem CRC in Freeman, S.D. He went on to serve First CRC, Sioux City, Iowa, then Hancock (Minn.) CRC. After retirement in 1997 he taught English in Beijing, China, and served as interim pastor in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Ruis had a great sense of humor, enjoyed reading, making home movies and slideshows, and gardening.

He is survived by Iva, his beloved wife of 65 years; four children and their spouses; seven grandchildren and their spouses; and eight great-grandchildren.

About the Author

Janet Greidanus is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

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