James Ruthenberg

Dec. 20, 1959 - April 24, 2014
James Ruthenberg, Dec. 20, 1959 - April 24, 2014

The Star has received word of the death of James Alan Ruthenberg, who grew up in East Hampton and Bohemia, on April 24 in Roanoke, Va., of cancer. He was 54 and had been living in Roanoke for the last 20 years.

“He was kind and generous,” said his mother, Alison Pidgeon of Sweetwater, Tenn., “and well liked by everyone he met.”

Mr. Ruthenberg was born on Dec. 20, 1959, at Southampton Hospital, to Albert Ruthenberg, who lives in Roanoke, and Ms. Pidgeon, who is known by her nickname, Chickie. He was raised in Maidstone Park, his mother said, and attended the Springs School, East Hampton High School, and Connetquot High School in Bohemia. In East Hampton, he was a member of Boy Scout Troop 298.

He served six years in the Navy aboard the aircraft carriers U.S.S. Saratoga, U.S.S. America, and U.S.S. Independence. Stateside, he was a member of American Legion Post 419 in Amagansett, and worked for Home Sweet Home Moving and Storage in Wainscott before relocating to Roanoke. There, he worked primarily in construction.

Mr. Ruthenberg’s marriage to the former Patti Hilliard, who survives, ended in divorce.

In addition to his parents, he leaves a daughter, Martha Anne Ruthenberg, and a granddaughter, both of Wainscott. Two brothers, William of Sweetwater and Robert of Roanoke, survive, as do three sisters, Judy Esposito of Crested Butte, Colo., Saundra Mott-Boyer of Roanoke, and Susan Purcell of Kennewick, Wash. A stepsister, Kelly Colgan of Marion, Va. and stepmother, Sharon Ruthenberg of Roanoke, also survive. “They were very close,” Ms. Pidgeon said of her son and his stepsister and stepmother, with whom he lived for a time. “They were instrumental in helping him through his last days.”

Mr. Ruthenberg was cremated. A memorial service was held last month in Roanoke, and a celebration of his life is planned for the fall at Maidstone Park, where his ashes will be scattered.

Ms. Pidgeon suggested memorial contributions to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978.