Arthur U. Ruhanen

Arthur U. Ruhanen

Ruhanen, Arthur Uno “Art” – Died April 27, 2011

Passed away peacefully in Gilroy, CA after visiting with friends and family. Born October 27, 1920 in Duluth, MN to Finnish immigrants David and Tynne Ruhanen. Arthur spent his youth in Duluth and pursued his fascination of airplanes and flying by enrolling at Parks Air College in St. Louis, MO.

After graduating in 1941, he was hired by Trans World Airlines and immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor began flying under contract for the Air Transport Command. He flew in the European Division of the ATC, moving planes, equipment and personnel across the North Atlantic to the European and North African Theatres.

While living in Arlington, VA, in 1942, he met his future wife, Pearl Wright (from Richford, VT), where she was working for the Department of Defense. They were married in 1943, started a family in 1945 and then moved to the San Francisco Peninsula in the late forties, finally settling in Gilroy in 1960.

Art worked for TWA his entire career, retiring in 1984. Over the course of his career he has been on the cockpit crew for Boeing 307s, 707s, 747s and Lockheed Constellations, as well as others. He was a true airline pioneer, most notably serving as the flight engineer on the inaugural trans-Atlantic commercial flight from Washington, D.C. to Paris on Feb 5, 1946 aboard TWA’s “Star Of Paris” Lockheed Constellation.

Between flights, he grew Christmas trees and raised cattle on his ranch in Gilroy, running the longest operating live Christmas tree farm in Santa Clara County.

He is survived by his daughters Patricia (Bill) Schrupp of Lafayette, CA and Kimberly (Scott) Bartlett of Chestnut Hill, PA, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Pearl, his sister, Evelyn (James) Wing, of San Carlos, CA and his daughter Sandra (Robert) Freeman of Garrison, NY.

The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Arthur’s friend Estella Hoey of Gilroy and to her extended family for their friendship and extraordinary hospitality during the last several years of his life. We would also like to thank the attentive and caring staff and his friends at “Mary’s House” in Gilroy, where he has resided for the last two years.

A celebration of the lives of both Arthur and Pearl Ruhanen will be held at the Gilroy First Baptist Church, 8455 Wren Ave., Gilroy, on Saturday, June 25th, 2011, at 12:00 P.M.

Donations may be made to the Odyssey Hospice of San Jose or Live Oak Day Care of Gilroy, CA, in memory of Arthur Ruhanen, or to the charity of your choice.

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