Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Ruggles Juggles It All

This Ridgefield couple keeps it globally local



Rudy and Sally Ruggles, at their Ridgefield home, will receive the Hope Swenson Award from the Ridgefield Library on April 22.

Photo by Joseph Henry Lipstein

When Sally and Rudy Ruggles married, they had two weddings—one locally and one, a Tuareg ceremony, in the Sahara desert in Timbuktu. Their dual weddings elucidate their combined character as a couple: they are simultaneously locally engaged while also globally inspired and connected. 

Capturing all that Rudy has done as a philanthropist, Harvard graduate, IBM physicist, national-security specialist, world explorer, high-performance race-car driver, book collector, and community leader strains the confines of a magazine format. Fortunately, Rudy is at work on a memoir for his four sons—one of whom created business cards for his dad that reads “International Man of Mystery.” 

Rudy has visited 74 countries and five continents, living his mantra: “Do things that are stimulating, rewarding, and worthy.” His intelligence and engagement are on display when he talks about his work with the Ridgefield Library. “The library is an evolving concept,” says Rudy, whose first task was fixing the wifi in the old building. “It’s not just about the books. Once we flooded the building with wifi, people started bringing their computers. It’s been fun to see Ridgefield Library go through this great transitional moment from a traditional card file system for locating books to a time when those cards became scrap paper by the computers.” 

On April 22, the Ridgefield Library will honor the Ruggles with the Hope H. Swenson Visionary Award. Chris Nolan, the outgoing library director, praises the Ruggles’ contributions: “These are wonderful people, always willing to help—but they don’t always need

their names in lights. Rudy is so bright that his mind always needs a project. He solved the wifi pickle and then continued offering his help with technology when we were planning the new building. We did a lot of science programming with his leadership. His connection to the Morgan Library in New York was a great resource.” Of Sally, Nolan says: “People who own bookstores are naturally curious. She is always eager to learn and meet new authors.” 

Sally and her first husband, who passed away in 1991, opened Books on the Common in 1984. “We wanted it to be inviting, not cold and stuffy,” explains Sally, lighting up at the memory of their first store—a dusty, 500-square-foot space behind Talbots, opened before Copps Hill was even completed. She explains, “Getting the right book to the right person is very satisfying. I loved it when customers would come back and say that was a great book.”  Her three kids were so involved in the store that her son wrote about it for his college-application essay—one of the best the Amherst dean of admissions said he had read. 

After almost 20 years, Sally decided to sell the store. “I didn’t just want to sell to anybody,” she says. Current owners Ellen Burns and Darwin Ellis were long-standing customers and Burns was the store’s accountant, so knew full well the economic struggles of running a neighborhood bookstore. Still, Sally said she wanted them to know exactly what they were getting into, so shared the challenges. Burns joked, “You’re not a very good salesman.” 

Sally and Rudy grew up “across the pond” from each other, on opposite shores of Lake Michigan. Rudy grew up in Winnetka, Illinois, with a father who was a book collector. “Libraries have been an interest since I was a kid,” he says. “We didn’t have the variety of media. I’d ride my bike to the library all the time.” 

Sally remembers a “phenomenal” library in her two-room schoolhouse in the Michigan fruit belt. “Our library had all the Caldecott, Newbury winners,” she says. “Books are talisman. There is something speaking to that child.”

While they never lived Brady Bunch–style because their seven children from their first marriages were grown before they wed, the Ruggles enjoy each other’s children and eight grandchildren. The couple also supports Founders Hall, Danbury Hospital Biomedical Research Institute, and the Hord Foundation, providing scholarships for African-American students in greater Danbury. Rudy remains involved with the Ridgefield Coalition Against Substance Abuse, which he co-founded with First Selectman Marconi.

Because of their love of books, it’s fitting that Rudy and Sally met at Books on the Common. “He always ordered the most interesting books,” Sally says. Rudy remembers asking her out to lunch with his hands “sweating like a school boy’s.” And what about that wedding in the African desert? We’ll have to read Rudy’s memoir to get the full story.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

(Every) Road Runner

A journey of growth and discovery

Ten Minutes With Willie Geist

A broadcast journalist

Ridgefield Out & About - July/August

Like a Rolling Stone

An original theater for town

Bernard’s Backyard Bounty

A chef’s secret garden source––Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Edit ModuleShow Tags

August 2017

He’s earned so many superlatives in his career, it may be best to put it simply: the cat can play. Trumpeter Chris Botti brings his superb musicianship, his killer band and his...

Cost: $110

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: 203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Turn a summer afternoon into an artful one. Experiment with new materials and creative processes. Families with children of all ages are invited! Imagine what art will look like years from now...

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Ann Wilson of Heart” the next step of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s journey – the step that puts it all together. The present meets the past and joins the timeless. All...

Cost: $90.00

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge Rd
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: Pepsi Rock Series powered by xfinity
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Do you love to sing and want to join a contemporary singing group? The Ridgefield Chorale is kicking off their fall rehearsal season and would like to invite anyone interested in becoming a member,...

Cost: Free

Where:
St Andrew's Church
6 Ivy Hill Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Sponsor: Ridgefield Chorale
Telephone: 203-546-8740
Contact Name: Lori Meehan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the Louisiana born axeman and songsmith, has sold millions of albums while throwing singles into the Top 10, shining a light on the rich blues of the past and...

Cost: $69.50

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Turn a summer afternoon into an artful one. Experiment with new materials and creative processes. Families with children of all ages are invited! Incorporate important words and numbers from...

Cost: Free for members or with Museum admission

Where:
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
258 Main Street
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Telephone: 203-438-4519
Contact Name: Emily Devoe
Website »

More information

Pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, who is included on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists of all time, leads this Grammy Award-nominated funk and soul band. Many musicians...

Cost: $45-65

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Featuring Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Geillette and Bill Hubauer Ex Dream Theater and current Winery Dogs super drummer Mike Portnoy (also known for his work...

Cost: $45

Where:
The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Sponsor: The Ridgefield Playhouse
Telephone: (203)438-5795
Contact Name: Vania Saintfery
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

4th Annual ArtWalk Ridgefield: The downtown streets of Ridgefield will once again come alive during Art Walk Ridgefield 2017.  More than 50 restaurants, businesses and cultural venues...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Connecticut Taco Festival will take place on Saturday, August 26, 2017 from 10 AM to 8 PM at the Danbury Ice Arena. This event will feature a variety of taco selections from restaurants and...

Cost: Tickets are limited. Advanced general admission tickets $45 and $25 for kids

Where:
Danbury Ice Arena
1 Independence Way
Danbury, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

The multi-platinum selling singer, performer and songwriter with his brand new Gavin DeGRAW TOUR where he will be performing a stripped down set, diving deep into his catalogue for the first time...

Cost: $87

Where:
Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT  06877
View map »


Website »

More information

Join New Pond Farm's team of astronomers as we gaze through the telescopes at the five-day old moon, Jupiter with its bright moons, and Saturn with its magnificent rings....

Cost: $4 per New Pond Farm member, $6 per non-member

Where:
New Pond Farm Education Center
101 Marchant Road
Redding, CT  06896
View map »


Telephone: (203) 938-2117
Website »

More information

Starting June 3rd thru August 27th, Ridgefield Golf Course offers families an opportunity to play golf. For $25 groups of up to 5 people can play a few holes (golf cart included). Tee times are...

Cost: For $25 groups of up to 5 people

Where:
Ridgefield Golf Course
545 Ridgebury Road
Ridgefield, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Each year Stamford Downtown hosts a distinguished outdoor sculpture exhibit designed to attract both local and regional audiences. Art in Public Places Outdoor Sculpture exhibit features sculptures...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stamford Downtown
, CT


Website »

More information

Restaurant Weeks, hosted by Stamford Tables, is back for another summer of fabulous dining.  From August 21st through September 4th, participating restaurants will be...

Where:
Participating Downtown Restaurants
Stamford, CT


Website »

More information

4th Annual ArtWalk Ridgefield: The downtown streets of Ridgefield will once again come alive during Art Walk Ridgefield 2017.  More than 50 restaurants, businesses and cultural venues...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ridgefield, CT


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags