Phil was born on February 27, 1934 in St Anthony hospital in Denver, to Louis and Florence Ruggles. His boyhood home was a farm east of Parker. He was one of five children: in order, they are, Roy, (deceased), Patricia, Glen, Philip and Margie. He graduated from Parker High School in 1952 then attended Fort Lewis in Durango for a semester transferring to Western State College in Gunnison. After he graduated in 1956, he was drafted into the Army and was stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was married to JoLean Healey in August of 1957. He got out of the Army four months early to teach school in El Paso. He and JoLean lived in El...
Phil was born on February 27, 1934 in St Anthony hospital in Denver, to Louis and Florence Ruggles. His boyhood home was a farm east of Parker. He was one of five children: in order, they are, Roy, (deceased), Patricia, Glen, Philip and Margie. He graduated from Parker High School in 1952 then attended Fort Lewis in Durango for a semester transferring to Western State College in Gunnison. After he graduated in 1956, he was drafted into the Army and was stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas. He was married to JoLean Healey in August of 1957. He got out of the Army four months early to teach school in El Paso. He and JoLean lived in El Paso for the next nine months while he completed his teaching assignment. Their first child, Michelle, was born in El Paso.
As soon as the school year was over, he moved his family to Westminster, Colorado where he bought a home and signed a teaching contract. He taught thirty-three years in Adams County School District 1. Those years were wonderful, busy years. The family grew with the birth of two more children. Roxane was born 1960 and Matthew was born 1967. Matthew was born profoundly deaf so the next years were an adventure into the raising and educating of a precocious deaf son. He attended St Joseph Institute for the Deaf in St Louis, MO through the eighth grade. Phil wanted Matt to do everything that hearing children did. Matt is a very social person who inherited his father's ability to talk to any and everyone.
During the twenty-five years of living and working in Westminster, Phil had many part-time jobs. One of those jobs was working as a tax preparer. He worked for H & R Block doing taxes for over fifty years.
Besides teaching, doing taxes and raising a family, Phil went on to earn a Master's Degree from the University of Northern Colorado and Specialist Degree in the teaching of Science from the University of Illinois.
Phil moved his family to Arvada in the fall of 1983 where he lived until his death on June 9. All of his children married wonderful spouses. Michelle married Mike Lewellen and they adopted Laura rose age 15. Roxane married Stephen Morgan and Matthew married Janet Delgado. Matt and Janet have two sons, Derek age 15 and Kendall age 13. Being part of the grandchildren's lives the past few years was such an important part of his growing older.
His family was the core of life. He spent so much of his life working to provide a good life for all of them. After the children were out on their own, Phil directed his considerable energies toward other endeavors. He worked at the YMCA of the Rockies part time in the summer for over fifteen years. He volunteered at the Performing Arts Center for nineteen years. In June of last year he was honored as the Volunteer for the month of June. He volunteered at the Museum of Natural History. He drove a bus part time for Springwood retirement community for twenty years. He drove a bus part time for Lutheran retirement community for 20 years. He decided after he retired from teaching that he wanted to be an over-the-road truck driver. He drove an 18-wheeler for Snyder for a year and he had wonderful stories of that year. In the past five years he took up water walking. He would walk in the swimming pool every morning at 5:30 because the water seemed to help the neuropathy. Of course, he made fast friends with the water-walkers. He always told people that he was part of the synchronized swim team.
Phil decided he wanted his children to experience a bigger world. He bought a trailer and the family went to World Fairs, National Parks, Washington D.C, Boston, New York, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, both coasts, and of course Disney Land just to name some of the places the family traveled. Later he traveled extensively to over twenty countries all over the world. Some of his pen pals were friends he made on the tours to foreign countries.
In the last ten years of his life, he maintained a hobby of letter writing. He wrote to people all over the world. He wrote one or more letters everyday. He had over one hundred people on his mailing list. He also kept in contact with his extended Ruggles and Healey families. He would talk to his two sisters, Pat and Margie each week. Engaging in the art of conversation with anyone was something he so enjoyed. He was a great storyteller. He never met a single person that he did not enjoy talking to and trying to find common connections.
Education for him, his family and anyone he knew was a basic expectation. He supervised student teachers for Regis University and loved going into the classrooms to observe children learning.
He built a mountain house near Tabernash, Colorado and that became a retreat for him and for his family.
Phil filled his eighty years of living with family, friends, experiences and work. He is looking down on us now saying when is the next family get together.
Rosary will be recited 7:00 pm, Thurs, June 12th, memorial mass will be at 3:00 pm, Fri, June 13th all at Shrine of St. Anne's Catholic Church, 7555 Grant Pl, Arvada, CO. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions should be made to Children's Hospital.