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Arthur Charles Ruggles
July 17, 1930 ~ January 21, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Arthur Charles Ruggles, a Nevada mining legend, heard the Tommy knocker’s call and called it ‘Deep Enough’ January 21, 2024. He was 93 years old.
Born on July 17, 1930, in Monte Vista, Colorado, to Arthur Lee and Mathilde Fouquet Ruggles, Arthur Jr. grew up with his younger brother, Virgil. His father, Art Sr., was a jack-of-all-trades, working as a farmer, miner, and logger to support the family through the Great Depression. Mathilde, his mother, was a dedicated schoolteacher, working in many rural schools throughout her long life.
The Ruggles family moved from Colorado to Iowa and on to California, then Oregon during Arthur Jr.s’ early years, where he attended grammar school and two years of high school. His father's work took them to Pioche, NV where Junior graduated from high school in 1949. Around this time, the family came to work and settle in Cherry Creek, Nevada. Cherry Creek would become the longstanding home-base for this Ruggles clan.
Junior was mechanically gifted from an early age, assisting his father in mining tungsten and silver in Cherry Creek. It was there he met his future wife, Eunice (Mickey) Tippett. She had come to visit her brother, Jim, and stepdad, Cal Williams, who were mustanging over in Butte Valley. She was in town as much as she could be, and the courting began. Mickey grew up riding and once rode the Ruggles little ore burro. Art proposed to her shortly after with the words “Any gal that looks that good on a burro, ought to be married to a miner.” Their marriage took place in Ely, Nevada, on November 27, 1950. She was 18, he was 20.
The couple had three children: Roy, Lynne, and Arla.
The family lived a tramp miner’s life, moving their 28’ trailer with them. As his mining career progressed and the family grew, so did their living accommodations; graduating to a 40’ trailer with running water and a washing machine in Lovelock, Nevada in 1957. When asked, Lynne often said, “I lived in more than 12 places in Nevada before I was 12!”
After years as nomads, collecting lots of close forever friends along the way, they settled in McGill, Nevada, for the children’s high school years.
Art's career spanned over five decades in the mining industry, undertaking roles such as Contract Footage Miner, Mill Operator, and many supervisory positions. He later would work as a consultant to mines that were either intending to build, renovate, liquidate, or move their mills.
If it came out of the ground, Art knew how to crush it and extract the minerals. He knew how much power was needed for the task, and what equipment and work was needed to get the mill up to that task. Many a Nevada miner got lined out for their day’s work by Art, and many men can attribute their careers to his attention to detail and concern for their safety.
Upon retiring in 2001, Art and Mickey returned to live in Cherry Creek, building a bungalow reminiscent of the mining mills that characterized his career. Mickey passed away in 2004, but Art lived in the home they built together for another 20 years, indulging in his passion for the outdoors, firearms, and technology. Despite his progressing blindness, he was never without a project. There were always instructions to read and to be ignored and a workaround (The Ol’ Cherry Crick Fix) to be found. He always had suggestions or advice to offer those seeking answers as to the best way to fix their mechanical problems. After suffering a stroke in June 2022, Arthur Jr.'s health declined. Shortly thereafter, he “Turned a Wildcat” (he fell) and cracked some bones in his neck leading to a move to the White Pine Care Center in Ely, Nevada, then to the Highland Manor in Elko, Nevada where he passed away.
Art is preceded in death by his parents, brother, and his beloved wife, Mickey. He is survived by his children, Roy (Cheryl) Ruggles, Lynne (Clifford) Brown, and Arla Ruggles; Grandchildren include Victoria (Vanessa) Ruggles, Joshua Brown, Matthew (Marcella) Browne, Angela (Mack) Chetwood, and Calvin (Marybeth) Ruggles. Among his progeny are 12 Great-Grandchildren and 2 Great-Great-Grandchildren. We, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends will all miss the Old Man.
A celebration of life will be held in Cherry Creek this summer near his birthday. His ashes will be spread according to his wishes, near the spot where on the back of a burro hauling ore, our family story began.