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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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