RUHALA, Richard "Dick" age 87, lifelong resident of Flint, passed away peacefully, with his family by his side on October 16, 2023. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 11:00 AM Friday, November 17, 2023 at the First Presbyterian Church located at 746 Saginaw Street, Flint, Michigan, ( A live stream of the service can be viewed here on the obituary page) Memorial visitation will be from 2:00 PM - 8:00 PM Thursday, November 16, 2023 at the Sharp Funeral Homes - Miller Road Chapel (8138 Miller Road, Swartz Creek, Michigan) and from 10:00 AM Friday until the time of service at First Presbyterian Church. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of Dick to Crossover Outreach (www.crossoveroutreach.org) or to the First Presbyterian Church of Flint (www.fpcf.org).
Richard John Ruhala was born on March 28, 1936, in Flint, Michigan to the late John and Anna (Mucha) Ruhala. He graduated from Flint Northern High School in 1954 and earned varsity letters in football, track, and tennis and served as President of Student Council. He achieved his undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1958. In addition, he played on the University of Michigan football team for 2 years, and he was a lifelong UM football fan. He received his law degree from Wayne State University in 1962.
He married Arlene DeCook in Holland, Michigan on August 9, 1958, and they lovingly raised their four children together. He was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church of Flint where he served as a Trustee for many years.
After receiving his law degree, Dick immediately set up his law practice in Flint where he served for over 60 years. As a young man he quickly became active in the community with the Flint Jaycees, the Cancer Society, and the United Way. In 1966 he was named “Outstanding Young Man of Michigan” by the Michigan Jaycees.
Dick’s first election to public service was in 1964 when he served two years on the Flint Charter Commission. He subsequently served on numerous committees to advise the mayor of Flint on charter amendments and other city matters. In 1970, Dick was a candidate for US Congress and in 1990 he ran for a Judge position.
In 1967, Dick was elected to the Flint Board of Education and served until 1976. He also served on the Board of Directors of Michigan Association of School Boards and served a term as President. In addition, he was elected by school board members to the Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association for five years.
When Dick moved to Flint Township, he turned to municipal interests. He was elected to the Board of Trustees for Flint Township where he served from 1984 to 1990. He was also a chairperson and member of the charter township of Flint’s Economic Development Corporation. In addition, he served 17 years on the Flint Planning Commission.
Dick served for three terms on the Genesee County Bar Association Board of Directors and was President from 1985-1986. He served as chairperson of Genesee County Criminal Justice Committee from 1980-1982. In his later years, he was the Coordinator for the Genesee County Senior Lawyers Group. In 2019 he received the Flint Trial Lawyers Association Career Achievement Award.
Throughout his career, Dick was also involved in the Michigan State Bar Association, and he served on various bar committees. In his later years he was President of the Masters Attorney’s Group of the Michigan Bar Association.
During the last decade, Dick was a member of the Board of Directors of Crossover Outreach, a Flint organization that provides services and programs to those in need. He provided legal guidance for the new building at Crossover.
Dick is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Arlene. Children, Karen Ruhala Amrhein of New York City, NY; John (CJ) Ruhala of Dallas, TX; Richard (Laura) Ruhala of Atlanta, GA; and Philip (Heather) Ruhala of Plymouth, MI. Grandchildren, Lauren Amrhein; Justin (Khamini Persaud) Amrhein; Katie (Terry) Hillis; Sam (Amanda) Ruhala; Elijah Ruhala; Patrick Ruhala; Jack Ruhala; and Ben Ruhala. Sister, Marilyn (Lynn) Cooper of Palm Springs and nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents; son-in-law, Scott Amrhein; brother, David Ruhala. Tributes may be shared at www.sharpfuneralhomes.com.