Michael E. Ruth

A strong, quiet man and lifelong servant of his God, his family and his country, Michael Eugene Ruth was taken from us on May 7, 2018, to be reunited with his worldly and his heavenly fathers as a result of pancreatic cancer. 

Mike was born on Nov. 4, 1953, in San Diego, Calif., into a loving and nurturing family of patriots. Most of his ancestors served their families and friends as teachers and in the medical professions, the clergy or the military. By 5 years old, he had developed a passion for airplanes and had set his sights on a career as an Air Force pilot, following in his father’s footsteps. Growing up in a military family, he enjoyed a freedom of exploration of nature and geography, and as the oldest of five siblings, always embraced the leadership role. 

Mike applied for and received an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs during his senior year of high school and joined the Class of 1975 “Best Alive” on July 5, 1971. After graduation with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and went on to pilot training at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas, flying T-37 and T-38 aircraft. 

The next 12 years of his career was spent training for or operational flying assignments in the A-7D Corsair at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., and England AFB, La.; the OV-10A Bronco at Patrick AFB, Fla., and Sembach AB, West Germany; and the F-16A/B Falcon at Shaw AFB, S.C., Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea, and MacDill AFB, Fla. Following a year at Quantico Marine Base, Va., completing Marine Command and Staff College, he served out the remaining time of a 25-year Air Force career in staff positions at Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, Va., and North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, Colo. 

Following his very fulfilling Air Force career, Mike spent the next two years as a commercial airline pilot with Mesa Airlines, flying out of Denver, Colo. Hired by Southwest Airlines in 1998, Mike spent almost 17 years flying various models of the Boeing B-737 as first officer and captain out of Phoenix, Ariz., and Midway Airport in Chicago, Ill., and retired in 2014. Mike retired with 18,000 hours of flying time over a lifetime and enjoyed every minute in the air and on the ground. 

Mike spent his adult journey with the love of his life, Susan. They married immediately upon graduation from college and spent a blessed lifetime in a close and strong relationship with Jesus Christ and each other. They served faithfully in the many churches they were associated with over many moves. Mike served most recently as the chairman of the leadership team at Community Covenant Church in Kearney, Mo. 

Besides Susan, Mike is survived by his mother, Marilyn Ruth, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; his daughters and their families, Kelly and Ryan Klindt, with grandchildren Nolan, Jared and Ainsley; and Megan and Cody Hopkins, with grandchildren Rowan and William. Also, Michael’s siblings: Micki and Pat Mingus family of Castle Rock, Colo.; Mark and Lisa Ruth family of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Mindy and Cal Turner family of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Kim and Steve Nofel family of Colorado Springs, Colo. Also, Susan’s siblings: Drew and Connie Cannatella family of LaRose, La., and Rob Cannatella family of Cut Off, La.

Susan Ruth, Mike’s loving wife  |  September 2018



From Ralph Paul: Gentlemen, it is my sad duty to inform you that Mike Ruth passed away on Monday morning (May 7th) after a battle with pancreatic cancer. There was a ceremony in his home town, and his ashes will be interred at the Academy cemetery sometime in June. I will forward you the date and time when I hear from Susan.



Michael E. Ruth, 64, of Kearney, Missouri, died May 7, 2018. Memorial Service: 11am, Sat., May 12 at Kearney Community Covenant Church. Arrangements: Fry-Bross & Spidle Funeral Home

Kansas City Star  |  May 9, 2018



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