Harold John Ruhl, Jr.

June 12, 1944 ~ September 17, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old

Harold Ruhl, Jr. Obituary

Harold John Ruhl Jr., affectionately known as Hal, peacefully passed away at the age of 79 on September 17, 2023, in Durham, Connecticut, surrounded by his loving family after a lengthy illness. Born on June 12, 1944, in Queens, New York, Hal was the son of the late Harold John Ruhl Sr. and the late Margaret Irene (O’Keeffe) Ruhl.  He will be deeply missed by his devoted wife of 56 years, Madelon (Kiel) Ruhl, his sons Stephen Ruhl of Durham, CT, and Jason Ruhl, as well as his daughter-in-law Sherri Ruhl and his cherished grandchildren, Justin, Katherine, and Madeline, all residing in Clayton, CA. He is also survived by his sister, Jeannie Haber of Morristown, NJ, and his brother, J.B. Ruhl of Brentwood, TN.

Hal was a brilliant mind with a passion for engineering. Hal earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1966 from the University of Illinois and went on to complete his Master of Science degree in 1970 at the University of Syracuse. While a student he was admitted into the Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi engineering honors societies.  He was a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of New York and an active member of both the National Society of Engineers and American Mensa Limited.  Hal spent much of his career working in the semiconductor and aerospace industries and published articles for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.  His final professional engagement was as a contractor at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT, where he contributed to the Qualification Engineering organization.

Throughout his life, Hal demonstrated a strong commitment to community service. He served as a dedicated volunteer in the Volunteer Fire Department in Mottville, NY, and lent his expertise to the Powder Ridge Ski Patrol in Middlefield, CT, where he served for 10 years including as Director from 1987 to 1991. Additionally, he was a proud member of the NRA and The Durham Rod and Gun Club in Durham, CT.

Hal had a rich tapestry of personal interests, including flying private single-prop airplanes, exploring the wonders of astronomy, engaging in ham radio communication, and indulging in the thrill of motorcycle rides. He was also an enthusiastic hunter, an avid boater, and an accomplished angler. A true tinkerer and inventive "modifier," Hal nurtured a sense of curiosity and problem-solving that he passed down to his children, who would also go on to pursue careers in engineering.  

Hal possessed a deep fascination with the intricacies of human nature and was a self-taught scholar in the realm of scientific theories of complex systems. Together with his younger brother, J.B., Prof. of Law, he co-authored an article in 1997 titled "The Arrow of the Law," which was published in the prestigious University of California (Davis) Law Journal. This work shed light on how complex systems theory enhances our understanding of legal systems. Over the decades, the brothers continued their research on complex systems and, in 2022, collaborated once more to publish an article in Futures, a renowned scientific journal, discussing the imperative need for transformative planning to address climate change and other global challenges.

There will be no calling hours.  A celebration of Hal’s life will be held at his Adirondack camp on Great Sacandaga Lake next summer.  In lieu of flowers, we kindly request that contributions be made in memory of Harold J. Ruhl Jr. to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, which can be done online at or Middlesex Hospice at  To share memories or send condolences to the family, please visit

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