Bobetta Ruhnow

Bobbie Ruhnow - Distinguished Citizen '09I lost another good friend at the end of last month.  Bobetta (Bobbie) Ruhnow passed away on October 31st.  You can read her impressive obituary here.  But that obituary hardly does her justice…

I first became acquainted with Bobbie as a friend in the early nineties shortly after I moved back to Culver.  Dad said that part of the business was public service and soon after attending a few Chamber of Commerce meetings as Easterday’s representative I was asked to join the board.  Bobbie’s involvement there led us to work together on many Culver projects including the inception of the Second Century Committee, the Mary Means Study, the Osborn Square Study, the Ratio Charrette and the Ratio Comprehensive Plan.  Eventually we were involved with so many things together she quipped, “If you show up for Thanksgiving Dinner next week, I won’t even bat an eye.  I see you enough that you’re like part of the family.”  There were many times she joked about wanting to adopt me…  I felt honored that she felt that way about me.

Over the years I have had to present before the Plan Commission and the BZA on many projects that clients were planning.  For a long time that was with Bobbie on the other side of the table.  Even when we didn’t agree, I had no doubt that she was doing her best to be fair and represent what was in her view the best interests of all involved.  Because of her I began attending almost all of those meetings just to keep abreast of things.  (Something I have continued to this day.)  Bobbie and Pete Trone would argue about which of them actually witnessed the dinosaurs roaming around Culver, but in the end they agreed that they were both older than dirt… and for that reason they were both founts of historical trivia about that Town, Lake and surrounding area that were invaluable.

We would often do post mortems of the meetings by email, both of us gaining from the other’s perspective.  Many of the posts you read here regarding zoning issues such as the ones on the extra territorial boundary were vetted through Bobbie to make sure I had the history right.  She often ghost wrote recaps of the meetings where she served on the board for the Culver Citizen or the Pilot News, being credited only as “correspondent”.  We often debated those and the areas where her recollection varied from mine… which was rare.  Even after she was off the boards she would quiz me about what appeared in the paper and what my take on it was.  Her writing skills were exemplary and it’s partially due to her that I reread my writing here several times to check for errors and to be sure that in those areas where the grammar isn’t perfect, it’s at least intentional.

Bobbie was always a good democrat, but she was also the source of some of the best Obama jokes I got.  She would bemoan how I disrespected her with comments about what the democrats were doing, but it was all good natured and we could have a spirited debate and still part friends… something I struggle with when talking to other democrat friends.  She also had a running joke with my wife, Becky, about being the “Other Woman” or OW for short.  She even roped her husband, Bud, in on this occasionally, saying he thought we were too close.  Ha!

And finally, one last tidbit that wasn’t listed in Bobbie’s obituary job list.  Bobbie actually worked for Easterday Construction Co., Inc. at one time!  Apparently, way back, when it was Russell L. Easterday Construction  & Supply Company and was housed in the second floor of the State Exchange Bank downtown, Bobbie worked as a secretary for my Great Uncle Everett Easterday.  She said that worked fine until he tried to teach her to read plans.  She decided that just wasn’t for her.

If you can’t tell yet, I’m going to miss her.  Bobbie was a good friend and I will feel the loss as such forever.  But beyond me, Culver lost a friend…  and advocate, cheerleader and historian.  She will be missed by many on many levels…

Picture Source: Culver Citizen 5-28-09

Edit:  There will be a Memorial Service for Bobbie on Saturday, November 14 at 11:00am at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Culver.

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