Rev. John Jay Ruhlman IV, 77, died at his Mount Vernon home on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. He was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ whom he served for 55 years as a pastor and a teacher.
John was born on July 30, 1941, in Binghamton, New York, to John Ruhlman III and Kathryn Pearl Ruhlman (née Hammond). They moved to Bellevue, Washington, when John was age 5. He graduated from Bellevue High School in 1959 and Western Baptist College (now Corban University) in Salem, Oregon, in 1963. He received a master’s degree in sociology from Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon.
John married Nancy Mehner of Seattle in 1962 and they began a life full of adventure that lasted 56 years together. They traveled the world over, including 12 trips to Israel and Egypt as tour leaders and many trips to Europe “digging up their roots.” They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by visiting friends in Chongqing, China, and cruising down the Yangtze River.
Calvary Baptist Church of Hillsboro was established in 1963 by Pastor Ruhlman directly out of college. Two children were born there, Sheryl and John.
In 1968 John moved to Everson with his family to pastor the Nooksack Valley Baptist Church where he stayed for 21 years. Bob Ruhlman was born while in Everson.
John’s most recent greatest joy in serving the Lord was teaching the Bible to the Ambassador Class of Emmanuel Baptist Church of Mount Vernon for 27 years.
During his ministries in Hillsboro, Everson and Mount Vernon, he preached the Gospel, taught the Bible, and loved people through happy times and hard times. His work included leading six building programs between Hillsboro and Nooksack.
In 1990 John and Nancy moved to their 1892 pink Victorian home on Beaver Marsh Road of Mount Vernon and have enjoyed eagles, snow geese, trumpeter swans, tulips and beautiful Skagit sunsets ever since. They owned and operated Prime West Advertising of Mount Vernon for 14 years.
John served as chairman of the board of trustees of Western Baptist College in Salem, president of the Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce, and president of the Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon. He also wrote “A History of Northwest Regular Baptists,” published in 1976.
John loved Jesus, people, the Word of God, traveling, history and genealogy. In his last few days, he said, “I’m all about winning people to Christ — that’s my priority.” He signed his letters: “Awaiting the Shout” (Christ’s Second Coming, I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
John is survived by his wife, Nancy, and their three children: Sheryl (Eric) Rasmussen of Shoreline, Washington, John Ruhlman of Oceanside, California, and Bob (Lee Anne) Ruhlman of Shoreline; eight grandchildren: Ellie, Emma and Annie Rasmussen; Rachel and Jono Ruhlman; Kate, Sophie and Audrey Ruhlman; sisters Ruthanne (Darrell) Beddoe of Boise, Idaho, and Kaylene (Joel) Jeffers of Ontario, California; brother Pastor Tom (Becky) Ruhlman of Shoreline; as well as cousins, many nieces, nephews and great-nieces/nephews.
Memorial gifts in John’s name may be sent to Camp Gilead, 30919 Carnation Farm Rd., Carnation, WA 98014.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, in Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1515 E. College Way, Mount Vernon.
The family extends special thanks to oncologists Dr. Kiarash Kojouri of Skagit Valley and Dr. Guy Johnson of the University of Washington Medical Center (both are “the best”) and to dear friends Dr. Jim and Shirley Shaw and Jim Zielinski, who gave beyond the call.
Arrangements are entrusted to Whatcom Cremation and Funeral.