Life Story / Obituary
Richard Hurley (Dick) Ruch, 86, of Holland, Michigan departed peacefully from this phase of his life into the nearer presence of God on April 22, 2016 at his home. Gifted musician (trumpet), corporate CEO (Herman Miller), Christian philanthropist (Hope College, Words of Hope, many others), and patriarch to his family, he was perhaps best known as Papa to his 12 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. Born April 15, 1930 in Plymouth, Indiana, he was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Patty Lou (Overbeek), his sisters Rose Marie (Harrison) and Ruth (Kuipers), his daughter, Christine (Sligh) and daughter in law Nancy Ruch. A graduate of Holland High School, Dick attended Hope College and graduated with high honors from Michigan State University. In 1984 he was invited to study in a summer program at Oxford University. He and Patty later established scholarships at Michigan State and Hope College. The Ruchs were faithful and generous supporters of both Western and New Brunswick Theological Seminaries, along with many other charities in the U.S. and around the world. Dick served the Church as Sunday school teacher, deacon, elder and musician. He worked for Herman Miller for 45 years, starting out as an accountant and working his way up to Vice President of Manufacturing, CFO, President and CEO, and Board Chairman. Some of Herman Miller’s most celebrated products were the result of his unflinching support of cutting edge designers, his expertise in furniture manufacturing, and his keen eye for acquisitions. He was an early and strong proponent of the participative management movement in American business and truly believed that many of the great ideas came from “the guys and gals on the shop floor.” A lifelong athlete and avid tennis player, he earned eight gold medals in the senior Olympics. He is survived by his grateful sons, Richard S. Ruch (Renee House) of Kingston, New York, Michael D. Ruch, of Kentwood, and Douglas C. Ruch (Linda) of Zeeland, along with their families; the family of Christine Sligh; and a brother in law Lee (Jana) Overbeek and his family.