James Eugene “Jim” Ruggles, age 69, of rural Ollie, Iowa, was called home on Tuesday, September 5, 2023. A gentle soul known for his friendly demeanor and loving nature, he passed away peacefully at the Keokuk County Hospital in Sigourney, Iowa.
A private graveside service will be held at the Packwood Cemetery with Pastor Dar Eckley officiating. Friends may stop at Cranston Family Funeral Home in Fairfield on Friday, September 8, 2023 from 2 to 7 PM for a visitation, family will not be present for visitation. Gifts to a memorial to be designated later by the family may be left at the funeral home or mailed to the family at 33159 260th Avenue, Ollie, IA 52576.
Born on May 15, 1954, in Ottumwa, to Ronald R. and Mary Ruth (Whitmore) Ruggles, Jim spent his early years in Ottumwa before moving with his family to Phoenix, Arizona. There, he graduated from Moon Valley High School in 1972. In Phoenix, he met the love of his life, Debra Monk, and they were united in marriage on October 1, 1977, at the First Baptist Church.
Jim began his career at Ameron Pipe in Phoenix at the age of 18, while also attending college. His dedication and hard work saw him work his way to crane operator and spend 21 years with the company. In 1992, he and Debra moved their family back to Iowa to be closer to their relatives. They lived in several places in the area before finally settling down outside of Ollie. Jim then spent the next 25 years working for Fesler Auto Mall in Fairfield, from where he retired in 2019.
A man of faith, Jim was a member of the Grace Family Church in Ollie. He was an avid sports enthusiast, relishing all University of Iowa sporting events, playing and watching golf, and spending his Sundays watching football and NASCAR. A skilled hunter, he enjoyed trips to the Blakely Farm. However, his greatest passion was his family. He cherished watching his daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren participate in sports. He also spent a significant amount of time helping his son-in-law, brother-in-law, and good friend Jim set up firework displays.
Jim leaves behind a legacy of love and devotion. He is survived by his beloved wife, Debra; his two cherished daughters, Rochelle Archer (Corey) of Ely and Renaté Nickell (Ryan) of Cedar Rapids; his two sisters, Connie Hersh (Greg) of Ollie and Shelly Eckley (Pastor Dar) of Hedrick; he was an amazing grandfather to his six grandchildren, Aylah and Liam Archer and Tyson, Kaden, Ryiah and Raina Nickell. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Steve Ruggles, a niece, Alisha Ruggles, and a brother-in-law, Dennis Blakely.