Gerald L. Ruark passed away with family at his side on Sunday, April 14. He was born on June 9, 1934 to Ola (Reese) and Dallas C. Ruark in Greencastle, Indiana.
The family moved to Dana, Indiana where “Corky” (his lifelong nickname) went to Dana High School, played basketball, earned his letter sweater, and from the appearance of pictures in his old photo album, likely got into some mischief. But it is documented that he graduated on schedule in 1952.
Next, it was on to the Indiana National Guard, where he served from 1952 to 1958, through his college years at Indiana Central College. (Yes, that is the “real” name of the University of Indianapolis.) It was there, where he met the love of his life, Elizabeth Ann Liechty, better known to all as “Nan.” They married on June 23, 1957. And if push came to shove, he might have actually admitted that Nan was his better half! They have been a team for more than 60 years!
Four years of college just did not seem like enough for Gerry, so he went back to school at Butler University, earning his Master’s Degree and then went onto Southern Illinois University for an Ed.S. Degree. During that time, he decided that he should impart some of that learned knowledge to empower the up and coming youth of tomorrow, as well as to make a living by teaching. He taught at the elementary level: was an elementary audio-visual specialist for Perry Township in Indianapolis and “Little Egypt” schools in southern Illinois. He was also an audiovisual specialist for the Indiana Youth Center in Plainfield, IN and taught photography at the Indianapolis Day Adult High School.
But “The love bug will bite you if you don't watch out. If he ever bites you, then you'll sing and shout.” At that point Gerry could no longer ignore the bug and transitioned into his most memorable career as a passionate music collector, appraiser and expert. What really made the “world go around” for Gerry was… Vinyl. (And of course, later, CDs!) He had an insatiable love for music, specifically Jazz, Big Band and everything that Spike Jones recorded. (“The Love Bug Will Bite You,” The Mills Brothers, Vol. 3: 1935-1937)
Gerry and Nan started Alpha Records in 1983 and opened the retail record store in Southport. Still going strong on-line, Alpha specializes in music collectibles including LPs, 45s, 78s, books, magazines, sheet music and collecting supplies. And even though Gerry is gone, the collectors’ shows continue and you still can place your order today!
As a drummer himself… Gerry certainly marched to the beat of his very own drum. In addition to music, he loved World War II history and working outside in his yard. He did not love technology. He’d much rather work with a reel to reel tape machine, hunt for sheet music, or develop a sophisticated plan for how to deal with each year’s new crop of squirrels.
On the serious side of things, Gerry was preceded in death by his older brother Bob and sister-in law Virginia. He is survived by their children Trish (Bill) King of Crosby,Texas and Ginny (John) Wessels of Lawrence, Kansas.
He is also preceded in death, on his “better-half’s” side of the family by brother-in-law, Warren Liechty and is survived by sister-in-laws, Phyllis J. Dumm, Joyce (Verne) Chandler, and Diane (Roger) Rouch, and many nieces and nephews.
Importantly, Gerry leaves behind his beloved and cherished adopted family, Sigi and Josefina Jimenez and their beautiful children, David, Alma, Elsa and Arly. They have been at Gerry and Nan’s side through thick and thin with an abundance of love, laughter and devotion.
A celebration of life and music will be held on Saturday, April 27, at Singleton Community Mortuary and Memorial Center 7602 Madison Avenue, Indpls., IN 46227. Visitation will be from 11 am to 1 pm. The celebration program will begin at 1 pm. The family requests that you come and tap to the beat of the music as well as share your special memories of Gerry. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name may be made to WFYI Public Media or to the University of Indianapolis, 1956 Scholarship Fund (which we all know is, really, Indiana Central College, but make your checks payable to the former.)
Lastly, the family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks the nurses in ICU, as well as all of the Specialty and Palliative Care teams at St Francis Hospital, for their exceptional care.