American Veteran 01
Official Obituary of

Donald James Ruder

November 6, 1940 ~ February 10, 2024 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Donald Ruder Obituary

Donald James Ruder, age 83, passed away at the VA Medical Center in Seattle, Washington on February 10, 2024 after a long battle with lung cancer.  He was born to the late Donald M. Ruder and Lila B. Hill on November 6, 1940 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.

Donald is survived by three children, Don and his wife Terri, Debi, and Darrin and his wife Susan; five grandchildren, Emily, Josh, Lynkin, Serenity, and Noah; and three half siblings, Cheri, Maridon, and Randy; and many brother and sister in laws and their children and grandchildren.  He is preceded in death by his parents, by Karen his wife of 53 years, and by his daughter Denise Kovecs.

Donald moved to Burien, WA with his Mother at a young age when his parents divorced.  He grew up in Burien attending local public schools.  During these years he made many lifelong friends and met Karen, whom he would marry in 1961.  In 1958 he joined the Marine Corps and served in various Duty Stations including Okinawa, Sand Point WA, Vietnam, Pearl Harbor HI, and Twentynine Palms CA.  After leaving the Marine Corps as a Staff Sergeant, Don followed his interest in cars and worked as an auto parts salesman for many years.  His mechanical skill led him to a career in sheet metal at several shipyards in the Pacific Northwest.  He retired from ship building in 2002. 

Donald had many interests outside of work and the Marine Corps.  Chief among his interests was building and drag racing cars.  He was also an accomplished bowler, enjoyed fishing, and dabbled in deer hunting, but his love of cars was a major theme throughout his entire life.  From Buicks to Fords to Pontiacs to Chevrolets, he built and raced them all.  His racing exploits ran the gamut from running the starting line at Hawaii international Raceway to beating the reigning NHRA F Stock Stick record holder.  He won many weekly bracket races at Pacific Raceways near Seattle and continued his winning ways as an engine builder/crew chief when his son took over the driving duties.  In addition to all this, he was always the person anyone in the family could call if they needed help.  He loved spending time with all of his family and would always be there for any of us if we needed anything. 

Services for Donald will be held at Tahoma National Cemetery on March 21, 2024 at 3:00 PM.  The Patriot Guard Riders will escort a small procession from Edline Yahn Funeral home to Tahoma National Cemetery at 2:00 PM.  Friends and family will gather together at Stockton's Restaurant and Spirits following the service.

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March 21, 2024

3:00 PM
Tahoma National Cemetery
18600 SE 240th St
Kent, WA 98042


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