Cover photo for Paul Rugg's Obituary
1933 Paul 2020

Paul Rugg

July 6, 1933 — April 2, 2020

Paul Wendell Rugg arrived in mortality on the 6 of July 1933. Being born in Los Angeles, California he

was the 2nd child of Horace Frederick Rugg and Elizabeth Henrietta Foote and was the 7th child of his

father. His father was a third generation member of the church. His ancestry can be traced to some of

the earliest members of the church in England. Horace’s grandfather John Rugg join the Church and

brought his family to America in 1858. John’s family settle in Evanston, Wyoming where they settled and

thrived. Horace was born in Salt Lake to Henry Beaumont and Mary Jane Ensign Rugg. Mary Jane was

the daughter Samuel and Ruth Kelson Ensign. Samuel and his first wife were persuaded by an elder

brother of his to come to Nauvoo. After their arrival they joined the church. Samuel immediately went

to work on the construction on the Nauvoo Temple. He knew the prophet Joseph Smith. After being

driven from Nauvoo they continued on to Salt Lake in 1847. Samuel was introduced to Ruth, a new

single arrival to Salt Lake, in the home of Brigham Young. They were sealed in the Endowment House.

Our line descends through Ruth.

Dad’s mother Elizabeth was the 7th of 12 children, and the 5th of 7 daughters. Her grandparents on her

mother’s side Charles Twelves and Ann Elizabeth Henrietta Gunn heard the call of the prophet to leave

their mother land of England and join the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley. Charles and his family were a

part of the Ill-fated Martin Handcart Company. They lost 3 of their children while on their trek

westward. Once they arrived in Provo their last child was born, Emma Jemima Twelves, Dads

grandmother. She was the first female born in Provo, Utah. She married William Charles Foote. William’s

parents Thomas Foote and Eliza Ann Barrett met on a ship heading for the Americas. Thomas was

returning from serving a mission in England when he encountered Eliza who was in distress. The captain

of the ship kept the money entrusted to him for safe keeping. It was to be returned to Eliza upon arrival

to America. Thomas was smitten with this Welsh Miss and an onboard romance blossomed. They were

married once the ship docked. Eliza may have lost her money but gained her eternal companion on that

voyage. They also followed the mass migration of Saints to the promise land.

Dad was very proud and humbled by his ancestry. His heart was filled with pride knowing he descended

from a lineage of such strong conviction, dedication and devotion. Dad was a man who believed in the

God of his Fathers.

Dad’s mother was the second wife of his father. They married in 1926 in Los Angeles. This union

produced 4 sons: Roger born in 1930, Paul in 1933, William ‘Bill’ in 1935 and Samuel ‘Sammy’ in 1936.

Sammy lived only weeks before being called home. Dad as a child was small in stature and size. With

his overwhelmingly British ancestry he was fair complected and blue eyed. He was a tow head meaning

his hair was the lightest of blond. By the age of 10 his hair had turned to a medium brown. Like his

mother he was considered a sickly child to which she gave him special attention. This bond between

mother and child would last a lifetime. He was always close to mother. He was called ‘Paulie’, a term of

endearment, by those who knew him best.

Dad was born during the depression. The nation was struggling and so were her people. Most

Americans were deeply hurting both emotionally and financially. The Rugg family was extremely

fortunate that his father worked as a switchman for the railroad. The rails were a much needed

service in transporting people and product across the country. He was a 3rd generation Railroad man. His

father worked many hours to provide for his family and many others in need. Being a much older father

and continually working he spent little time with his sons due to necessity. They lived on a mini farm of

a little over acre in Los Angeles.  They gardened and had fruit trees. They even had some basic

livestock. The war came in the early 40’s and thanks to Japan the country was thrust into the fray. This

involvement pulled the country out of the depression.

Dad was the basic C student in school. Nothing more, nothing less. He was not one to exert or make

himself the center of attention. He was quiet and reserved. He was fine to be a spectator and watch the

world go by. He was a good natured kid and didn’t get into much trouble. He had a good moral compass

and attend church weekly with his mother. As a teenager he attended Mark Keppel High School and

graduated in 1952. Dad like his brothers was known for his handsomely good looks, He topped out at 5’

9’’ and about 135 pounds. He had a slim build like many guys of that era. After graduation he was

drafted in the army at the end of the Korean conflict. He drove trucks, transporting things from point A

to point B. He spoke of the countless hours of boredom driving at 25 miles an hour. Luckily the war was

basically over and he was part of the mop up crew.

Upon returning his eye was set on dating and finding his special someone. Church friends of his set him

up on a blind date. Being a first meeting his friends set it up as a double date. Little did he know  that

this would forever change his life.  Seeing what he liked, he marked his territory by kissing mom just 5

minutes into the date in the backseat of a car. Dad asked mom on a second date for the following

evening. Mom said yes even though she had another date scheduled. To remedy the situation she told

dad to pick her up half an hour earlier. The rest is history! They dated for a year. They married in Moms

parent’s home on 20 Apr 1956.  Dad was 23 and mom 18. Mom was not a member of the church. His

mother asked him if he was certain of his decision and dad said he was. From that point his mother

never question his decision.

Dad took mom to church with him and after a year she formally took the missionary lessons. She readily

accepted the gospel, thinking doesn’t everyone believe this? She was baptized by dad. About this time

Paula came onto the scene in 1957, Michael in 1958. In June of 58 they were sealed for time and all

eternity in the Los Angeles Temple. In 1959 they took Paula and Michael and had them sealed to them.

From that time forward all the children that followed were born in the covenant. Susan was the last

child born in Los Angeles in 1960. Dad packed up the family and headed to Sacramento to work for

Aero-Jet. It was a company that among other things built missiles and buster rockets for spaceships.

Within a year Dads mom passed away in Feb 1961. She succumb to complications of Parkinson’s disease. [MR1]

That August Sharon was born. Over the next few years the family continued to grow. Linda was born in

1963, Gregory in 1964, Cathy in 1967 and Lana in 1969.

During that time we moved several times in the Sacramento area. With his ever growing family,

providing for us was always a concern. Dad found his way into the Insurance Industry. During this time

the family grew and thrived. Grampa Rugg lived with us off and on during those years. Dad held many

callings in the Church. He enjoyed being a Ward and Stake Missionary. He regretted not serving a full

time mission in his youth. Uncle Sam insisted he serve his country instead. He was called in 1966 to be a

Seventy and was ordained by Franklin D Richards of the First Quorum of the Seventies. Richards not only

being a General Authority was also the commissioner of the National Federal Housing Administration.

In 1973 we were on the move again. The company that he worked for transferred him to Fresno,

California. The inner workings of household hummed with activity. The typical week consisted of; early

Sunday morning was Priesthood, then go home to pick up the family for Sunday School then go home.

Returned again for Sacrament meeting. Often there were firesides on Sunday nights as well. For the

High Schoolers in the family there was early morning Seminary Monday thru Friday. Monday nights was

Family Home Evening, Tuesday was Mutual, Wednesday was Primary. Thursday was Relief Society.

Fridays were always busy, and Saturday was cleaning house and yard work. This was our lives every

week. Things were about to get even more chaotic when Dad was called to be Bishop of the Fresno 2nd

Ward. He took the reins on the 26 April 1975. He was ordained by Marvin J Ashton an Apostle of the

Church. Being Bishop in those days they had to do everything. We barely saw him between work and

church for the next several years. Dad loved his calling. He went straight to the church building after

work. We didn’t see him until after 8 pm most nights. During those years Mom did the impossible by

keeping the family and household intact as he served. Countless blessings were poured on the Rugg

home. Dad was a great Bishop. He was very loving and kind to the members of the ward. He made it all

seem so effortless. He would counsel and help those needing guidance. He could deal with any ones

issues, unless it was a member of his own family. He was too close to the situation and it affected him

personally. Experience is a great teacher and he developed that capacity. Being a Bishop he could

disconnect. As a father he couldn’t. As his children we would always go to him with our problems.

Some were hard for a parent to hear. We always longed for his advice which was always heavily laced

with gospel principles  and doctrine. No matter the situation one always felt such an abundance of

love from him. Dad taught us the gospel and mom made it fun. He was in his element when it came to

the church. His eyes would light up as he spoke of the Savior. There was such power and conviction in

his voice. Rarely did he ever speak of work. Work was just a means to shelter and feed his family. What

was important to him  was the salvation of his family.

After several years the family moved once again, this time to Vidor Texas. It was on the Texas-

Louisiana border. It was definitely a culture shock. This was a time of struggle and growth. Grandpa Rugg

came as well. At the age of 94 he passed away in July 1980. During this time it was a trial of fire for dad

who found himself unexpectedly jobless. The family went through very hard times. Dad forever stayed

true and valiant. The turning point was when I witnessed him give his last 20 dollars in Priesthood

meeting when asked to contribute to the building fund. Within a couple of days he was offered a great

job. He went to work for Bechtel as a safety engineer. The company constructed nuclear and fossil fuel

power plants. Everything was back on track. This career sent Dad and Mom all over.

From Vidor the family went to Lake Charles, Louisiana in 1981, then to Orange Park, Florida in 1982.

From there they went to Glendale from 1983 to 1988. While there in 1986 Mom was diagnosed with

breast cancer. Mom went through surgery and chemo. Another hard time for the family. Dad stepped

up and did for mom, the household and still worked full time. He was an attentive and loving husband.

With mom patched up they went to Homestead, Florida in 1988. They left just a couple of months

before hurricane Andrew a category 5 storm slammed into the Miami-Dade area. It totally devastated

Homestead. Where they were staying was wiped off the map. Timing is everything and the timing of

that transfer was heaven sent. From there they went to Richland Washington, then to Edwardsville,

Illinois. From there to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, then Vicksburg, Mississippi. They had 2 stents in Pennsylvania,

one in Brookhaven the other in Oakdale.

Mom took a breather and they bought a home in Orem, Utah. Dad continued to travel. His next

destination was San Juan Capistrano, California, then Pismo Beach, California and Richland, Washington.

Dad finish up his run with Bechtel. He retired a valued and highly thought of person in the company. Dad

only spent 6 months in their Orem home before he was called out of retirement to do what he did best.

This time for a company called Berg. This was a long term project in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Dad

was assigned to the Port of San Pedro. He was the head safety person on the site. Dad was there from

1995 to 2000. In 1997 Dad was called into the Palos Verdes California Stake Presidency at the age of 64.

He was called to be the 2nd Councilor. Due to relocation of the 1st Councilor Dad was put into that

position. No matter how successful he was in his job as a Safety Supervisor it could not hold a candle to

his church callings. That was his true love. He always excelled in serving the Lord and this calling was no

different. Dad and Mom were in Palos Verdes for 5 years.

In their next adventure they bought a home in Mesa, Arizona.  They were called to serve a mission in the

Canada Winnipeg Mission. They were to labor in the Family and Church History Department in Regina,

Saskatchewan, Canada in the preservation of records. They laboriously preparing documents to be

photographed. These images are then indexed so they can be viewed on familysearch.org and sister

sites. The Lord blessed their efforts as they greatly surpassed all productivity and expectations. Their

greatest challenge was working in the cold dank basements at the various Courthouses. For mom it was

was all about keeping warm!

Upon returning to Arizona Dad settle into retired life with family. Being the father of 8, Grandfather of

33 and great grandfather of 55 as of this writing. Dad loved spending time with his children and

grandchildren. He was very proud of his posterity. He was very pleased with how the family

interacted with each other. On one occasion in Utah some of the family gathered at a restaurant for

lunch. It was a busy lunch hour and there was quite a few of us. There was 4 generations of us in one

place enjoying a meal together. The great grandchildren were having fun as they scampered about the

dining area. Dad had the biggest smile on his face as he watch then play. I was concerned they were

being to distruptive. Dad leaned over to me and said, ‘Michael nothing gives me more pleasure than to

watch my posterity develop lifelong and eternal ties to each other. It all about the ties.’

Dad and Mom were not done serving in the Church. They were privileged to be Temple workers in the

Mesa Temple, truly a labor of love. In 2011 they were called yet again, this time to serve as church-

service missionaries. Their assignment was as Coordinators for the LDS Employment Resource Services.

At this point Dad was 78. Dad never looked or acted his age. People thought he was 20 years younger

than his actual age. Even into his 80’s He had a full head of hair and just a hint of grey at the temples. He

loved the new adventure to serve. This calling was a great fit for him. Dad was not judgmental. He saw

the best in people or could see what they could be.

Dad loved and honored his priesthood. He was a very active participant in his priesthood quorums. He

was always very well respected by his fellow quorum members. When he spoke people listened. He

knew the gospel inside and out. When he prayed it was amazing. As his children it was such a great

blessing to hear our father pray. We knew he loved God and his Savior. He was a true believer and

instilled that in his family.

In late Nov 2019 Dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. The family was about to go through

another tough situation. He started radiation in early January. Chemo followed. There were countless

appointments. Dad deteriorated rapidly. This type of cancer is extremely painful and very unforgiving.

He was not going to recover from this. We were all bracing for what was about to happen. On 31 March

2020 his heart gave out. They revived him but there was massive brain trauma from which he would not

recover. His body shut down and he quietly passed away on 2 Apr 2020.

In his Patriarchal Blessing it states ‘you shall be highly respected and known as a man among men.’

It also states ‘Life is but a journey, not a destination.’ Another quote ‘Your heart is clean and pure’

It further states ‘You shall be loved and revered as a husband and a father, worthy of his offspring.’ And

finally ‘I seal you to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed in immortality and

eternal life, to enjoy the presence of your loved ones. I say that you shall labor with your resurrected

body, with assigned responsibilities.’

Dad we look forward to rejoicing in your presence once again. You  are loved and revered by all who

know and knew you.

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