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1954 David R. Von Ruden 2024

David Richard Von Ruden

June 30, 1954 — February 26, 2024

La Crosse

David Richard Von Ruden passed away peacefully in his home on the evening of February 26, 2024, following a long struggle with ALS which consumed the later years of his life. He was 69.
Born on June 30, 1954, he attended Aquinas High School for two years before graduating from Central High School in 1972. Dave worked many different jobs during the early years of his life and enjoyed telling stories about his experiences. From delivering newspapers, to a job that involved stuffing feathers into pillows, he also worked at the food counter at Woolworth's. Dave then went on to do park maintenance for the Town of Shelby before becoming a bartender at Snuffy's. Later, he worked for a construction company building Country Kitchens, and then at a factory for the Cooler Company. In 1981, he purchased a rootbeer stand in Holmen which he operated for nearly 9 years until settling down as an insurance agent for American Family until his condition forced an early retirement in 2021.
Dave had a dynamic personality and left an impression upon anyone who spent even a small amount of time with him. Witty, stubborn, and never short on opinions, he possessed a remarkable ability to be both charming and frustrating, often in the same conversation. One of his defining characteristics was his unique sense of humor, which included a tendency to tell jokes that only he would understand. His catalog of misadventures was so varied and vast that if one were to be told any story about something he did, despite however unlikely or unwise it may seem, one would be compelled to believe it were true.
Hard working almost to a fault, he never seemed to run out of energy, whether at the office or at home. He engaged in numerous home improvement projects, was known to make weekly trips to Menards, and cultivated a possibly unhealthy preoccupation with the upkeep of his home and land. He loved fishing and camping, and had an impressive ability to tolerate and enjoy spicy foods. Other notable talents include a knack for purchasing Christmas trees too large to fit in a home and an uncanny ability to attract the attention of the fire department.
Dave was a lover of music and it colored his entire perspective on the world. His personal lexicon consisted largely of song lyrics, often obscure. He enjoyed going to concerts, and he loved to share and discuss his musical interests with anyone who would listen. His other great passion was for Wisconsin sports, and especially the Milwaukee Brewers. Dave was a lifelong, devoted fan and rarely missed a game. He could never be accused of being a fair-weather fan; he was into it through all the ups and the downs. He rallied behind his favorite players and assigned juvenile nicknames to those who were not.
But nothing was more important to him than the people he loved. He found joy in gatherings for celebrations and holidays, cared deeply for his nieces and nephews, and was profoundly dedicated to his family. Though he could be a challenging person at times, his devotion to his family was never called into doubt. Dave was a proud father to his three sons and never failed to provide guidance and advice, sometimes without being requested to do so. He went to great lengths to be there for his children's sports and events, and could be relied upon for support of any kind, at any time, regardless of circumstance. He was an adoring grandfather, a role that suited his inclination for good-natured, harmless mischief without consequence so perfectly well it can hardly be described. It is not at all trivial to mention also his fondness for Duke, his cat, upon whom he doted without fail.
On December 30, 1978, he and Paula Galstad were married at the Newman Center in La Crosse. Together until he died, Paula worked tirelessly to care for him during every step of his illness. Dave was irreplaceable and it feels very much like a force has left the world. To speak a language he would understand, we would like to say that we are thankful he never burned out, but we are so sorry he had to fade away.
Dave is survived by his wife Paula (Galstad); son Scott and his wife Serena, son Mark and his partner Katie, and son Daniel; grandchildren Odessa, Leo, and Kolton; father Richard, sister Barbara Zettel and her husband Pat, and brother Jeffrey. He was preceded in death by his mother Phyllis (Pierce) and his brother Steve. 

The family will hold a private memorial service to remember Dave's life later this summer. We request any gifts or donations made in his name be directed towards the ALS Association or the Team Gleason Foundation.
ALS Association
Donation Processing Center
P.O. Box 37022
Boone, IA  50037
Team Gleason Foundation
P.O. Box 24493
New Orleans, LA  70184

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of David Richard Von Ruden, please visit our flower store.


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