BREWER and BANGOR – Richard Paul Ruhlin Sr. passed away Wednesday, May 9, 2012, surrounded by his loving family at a Bangor hospital after a brief illness. The son of James R. and Helena G. (Hewes) Ruhlin, Dick was born Aug. 31, 1936, in Bangor.
He attended Bangor schools and graduated from Bangor High School in 1954. He attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, studying history and government, enlisted in the Maine Air National Guard, and served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves until honorably discharged in October 1961. Dick married Regina T. Murphy in November 1961 and moved across the river to Brewer, where he became a dedicated supporter of the city for the next 51 years. Active in local politics, he first ran for and was elected to Brewer City Council in 1965 and served various terms through 1984, including three terms as the mayor/council chair. During this time he devoted his time to several civic organizations, serving as vice-chairman of Penobscot Regional Planning Commission, state director of National Ski Patrol System, chairman of the board of Pine Tree Chapter of the American Red Cross, community chair – Brewer – of the United Way of Penobscot Valley, president of Brewer Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of Penobscot Pollution Abatement Association. In 1984 Dick was elected to the state House of Representatives where he served on and chaired various committees until his election in 1994 to the state Senate. After leaving the state Senate in 2000, he was nominated and served as chairman of Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission until 2010. An avid outdoorsman, Dick will be remembered as a passionate fly-fisherman who was committed to the preservation of the Atlantic Salmon. He was a longtime member and president of all three local salmon clubs: Penobscot Salmon Club, Eddington Salmon Club and Veazie Salmon Club. He had a special love for the Miramichi River in New Brunswick, and cherished the time spent there every year with his wife and family. An 18-year survivor of lung cancer, he maintained a healthy and active lifestyle that included daily early morning trips to work out at the YMCA, Bangor. Dick will also be remembered for his career in the dental industry, working as a sales representative for Russell-Altenberg Co. through the 1960s, a regional sales manager for J J Crimmings Co. through the 1970s, a regional manager and junior partner for Bay Dental Supply Co. through the 1980s, and owner/founder of Denpro, Inc. in 1988, where he continued to work until his death. Most of all, Dick will be remembered for his marriage to Regina and the family they raised together on Elm Street, Brewer, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, Nov. 24, 2011.
Dick is survived by his wife, Regina; and children, Richard Jr. and wife, Susan, of Cornish, Roger and wife, Stephanie, of Brewer, Reginald and wife, Jennifer, of Bangor, Randal and wife, Christy, of Orrington, Robin James and husband, Jonathan, of Eddington, and Ronald and wife, Tracey, of Brewer. Dick, or Grampy, was especially proud of his 12 grandchildren, Hallie, Hannah, Justine, Ben, Olivia, Emma, Helen, Brielle, Kate, Jacqueline, Eliza and Ellie; and great-granddaughter, Julia. Also surviving Dick are his brother, Robert Ruhlin of Hudson; special sister, Carole Ann Ruhlin of Brewer; Scott and Melissa Biehn of Bangor; and Beth Ruhlin of Orrington. Dick was predeceased by his brothers, David Ruhlin, in 2007, and James Ruhlin, in 2009. The family thanks the nurses, doctors, and everyone at St. Joseph Hospital for their support and care during Dick’s final days.
Relatives and friends are welcome to call 4-7 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, where a funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Monday, May 14, with the Rev. Dr. James L. Haddix, pastor and teacher of All Souls Congregational Church, Bangor, officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments immediately after the service Monday at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St. Those who wish to remember Dick in a special way may make gifts in his memory to Penobscot River Restoration Trust, P.O. Box 5695, Augusta, ME 04330. Condolences to the family may be expressed at