Written by Mary Long, Brightview Baldwin Park Vibrant Living Director
Brightview Baldwin Park resident Ralph Ruedy is the community’s trivia mastermind, firing off responses mere seconds after a question is asked. No matter how complex or uncommon the answer might be, Ralph is equipped with a swift reply. It’s no wonder – his foreign service career spanned over two decades, sending him and his family worldwide into a soaring historic journey.
Ralph was born to a communal German pietist immigrant community in the Amana Colonies, Iowa. As a charter member of the Amana Heritage Society, which was established to preserve the history of the community, Ralph’s kind heart never left home during his larger-than-life travels. His beautiful family home was built approximately in 1870 and is considered a National Historic Landmark, with the communal kitchen wing of the building leased as a museum.
After he graduated from Iowa State University, Ralph embarked on an extraordinary Naval career, where he was decorated with the Navy Achievement Medal for his service in Vietnam. Concluding his service, Ralph was promoted to lieutenant commander in the Naval Reserves, later receiving a commission as major in Air Force Intelligence. He went on to achieve his Ph.D. in English from Duke University. In fact, Ralph’s dissertation, “Ford Maddox Ford and the English Review, 1908-1909,” can still be found online on Brown University’s “Modernist Journals Project” website.
It was at Duke he met his future wife. Still the love of his life to this day, Ralph married Shirley in the Duke University Chapel fifty years ago.
When in the foreign service of the United States Information Agency, Ralph and his family traveled to Tehran, East Berlin, Germany, Russia, and Washington. He witnessed the fading of the Shah, saw Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the German reunification, and experienced the building of diplomatic relationships. Of them all, Ralph’s favorite location was Germany.
Ralph’s service to the country was continued into retirement when he was often called upon to consult for the U.S. Department of State. His duties included serving as interim Deputy Office Director for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, which sent him to Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Ralph served as an election observer, carrying him to Montenegro, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Ukraine. As an ordained elder within the Presbyterian Church, Ralph has participated in outreach that included international mission trips to Mexico, Kenya, and Honduras.
It’s unbelievable he ever had time for other pursuits, but Ralph carved out room for reading, fishing, and hunting along with his ample professional and community service. At Brightview Baldwin Park, we are honored and grateful to have Ralph as part of our community.
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.