The Robb and Lynne Ruyle Permanent Book Fund

“It seemed the natural thing to do,” said Robb Ruyle, about why he and his wife, Lynne, created the Robb & Lynne Ruyle Permanent Book Fund.  “We wanted to give back to the Library and the community, and with these times of reduced budgets, the Fund’s income is very welcome.”  Robb and Lynne chose to let the Library use their Fund “where it’s needed most.”

Robb and Lynne fell in love with Montrose on a trip to visit Lynne’s parents, Bill and Bette Morgan.  He cites the small town-feel, fresh air, sunlight, mountains, and friendly people as what attracted them.  They returned to Cumberland, Maryland, where Robb was an unhappy hospital administrator, and dreamed of moving to Montrose.  It was Lynne who said, “You quit, I’ll work, let’s move,” so they did in 1982, with their young children, Tom and Erin.  Lynne supported the family as a night-shift nurse in the Montrose Memorial Hospital Emergency Room, using the skills she honed as a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps and during a one-year tour at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam (where she earned the Bronze Star Medal).  Robb set about starting a business, Powderhorn Industries, which produces bibs, tote bags, and other products.  At its height, Powderhorn employed 26 people at its factory on North Park Avenue.

Libraries always have been part of Robb’s life  As a boy in a small town near Peoria, Illinois, each Saturday he would pay a quarter to take the bus to the Peoria Public Library to check out books about history.  This interest was fueled by Aunt Norma who gave him a subscription to the “Landmark” series of history books.  Each month, another book arrived in the mail.  Robb chuckled when recalling that the same aunt gave him the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor.  “Little did she know that it featured several “adult” scenes,” said Robb.

While in college and graduate school, Robb rarely visited the library.  His friends joked that he didn’t know where it was.  But he soon rediscovered his passion, and it was the Montrose Regional Library District’s great fortune that Robb joined the Board of Trustees in 1990.  He served for ten years, and was President from 1992 to 1998.  During that time, he was involved in all aspects of building a new library in Montrose…from advising on the building design (including mediating the “Great Gargoyle Controversy”) to raising $6.1 million.  He rejoined the Board in 2007 and helped build another library, this time in Naturita.

Lynne passed away in 2012 after a brave fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  She also was committed to serving her community and country.  She was elected to the Montrose RE-1J school board, and was its President for three years.  In addition to her service in the Army Nurse Corps and Vietnam, Lynne was the first nurse in Colorado to command a National Guard medical unit.  Although Lynne was a prolific reader, she wasn’t a big library user.  Robb said that her tastes were very particular and she preferred to buy the books that she wanted to read–mostly non-fiction accounts of women adventurers, rivers, and wildlife.  An avid outdoorswoman, Lynne lived many of the adventures about which she read, from rafting wild rivers to traveling to Antarctica.

Robb recalls plenty of family reading time.  His son, Tom, learned to read at three.  The family calls him Garbage Brain for his ability to retain everything he reads.  Daughter Erin limited her reading to books about horses, about which she was crazy.

Robb said that the Fund has taken on greater significance with Lynne’s passing. “Book Funds are a creative and affordable way to leave a legacy or memorialize someone,” said Robb.  In fact, Lynne used the occasion of the couple’s 41st wedding anniversary last December to make an additional gift to the Fund. The Libraries of Montrose County Foundation is proud to help honor the Ruyles’ commitment to Montrose and libraries.