Col. Hugh Prichett Von Zell Ruhsam, USAF, Ret.

Jan. 1, 1929-Oct. 4, 2022

Col. Hugh Prichett Von Zell Ruhsam, USAF, Ret., passed away Oct. 4, 2022, from causes incident to age. He was born in Albert Lea, Minnesota, on Jan. 1, 1929, to Erwin and Josephine Ruhsam.

He spent his childhood and early years in Minnesota before attending Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and entering service in the USAF. Col. Ruhsam was a distinguished and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War where he was a jet fighter pilot assigned as an adviser to the Vietnamese Air Force.

He underwent pilot training after graduating from VMI and received his pilot’s wings in 1953 then went on to advanced fighter training in the F-86 at Nellis AFB, Nevada. He became a command pilot and was rated in many fighter aircraft including the F-80, F-86, F-84, F-100, F-4 and F-5.

Col. Ruhsam served at many locations during his 27 years of active duty. They include bases in the U.S., Europe and Asia. His last flying assignment was as the Director of Operations for F-4 training at Luke AFB, Arizona. Following that, he was temporarily detached from the USAF and assigned to the U.S. State Department as Air Attaché in the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. He also was accredited to the embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. After the outbreak of sectarian violence in Beirut – when fighting became too severe – he was transferred to the embassy in Athens, Greece. Upon his return to the U.S., he became Chief Aircraft Systems Division (f-4) at Ogden AFB. He resided in Ogden until moving to St. George in 2012.

Retiring from the USAF in April 1979 he then became Director of Sales and Marketing for Europe and Middle East at Jetway Systems. While with Jetway, he was responsible for selling aircraft ground support to the various airports in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Being a member of the Royal Air Force Club, located near Green Park, London, he spent many enjoyable days in that city while on projects in the UK. During his 20 years with Jetway, he traveled frequently to numerous countries – from Iceland to Saudi Arabia and points in between – before again retiring in 2000.

After flying jets, he still enjoyed flying light, propeller aircraft such as the Cessna 172 with the Hill Flying Club of which he was a member. “They fly low and slow,” he said, “but one can enjoy the scenery much better.” Aside from flying, he and his wife Barbara enjoyed golfing and were members of the OGCC for many years. RV camping with his family was another pastime he enjoyed.

His eldest son Von and extended family reside in Nebraska but meet on reunions in Tucson, Arizona. His second son Roderick, deceased, was always remembered for his wit, bright spirit and self-effacing nature. Frequent visits with his daughter Mary and two grandchildren in Tucson were a delight for him as well.

“And so … now I enter into this new season of my life unprepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but never did. But, at least I know, that though the winter has come, and I’m not sure how long it will last… this I know that when it’s over on this earth … it’s over. A new adventure will begin.”

“Yes, I have regrets. There are things I wish I hadn’t done … things I should have done, but indeed, there are many things I’m happy to have done. It’s all in a lifetime.”

“So, if you’re not in your winter yet … let me remind you that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in your life please do it swiftly! Don’t put things off too long! Life goes by rapidly. So, do what you can today, as you can never be sure whether this is your winter or not. You have no promise that you will see all the seasons of your life … so live for today and say all the things you want your loved ones to remember…and hope that they appreciate and love you for all the things that you have done for them in the years past.”

“Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those around you and those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.”

Hugh is preceded in death by his son Roderick (Rod) and his stepson William (Bill). He is survived by his wife Barbara, with whom he shared many adventures. They both loved camping, traveling and golfing, known to friends as the “Ruhsam Twosome.” They always looked forward to family coming into town so they could entertain.

Hugh is also survived by his children Von (Vicky) and Mary (Craig); his ex-wife, Joan, who stayed close friends with both Hugh and Barbara; stepchildren Vic (Michele), Laurie, Suzanne (Shawn), Jeff (Diane). He also leaves behind many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The family would like to thank Sun Tree and all the wonderful people for the comfort and kindness that has been extended.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. in the Metcalf Mortuary Chapel, 228 West. St. George Blvd., St. George, Utah.

Click here to live stream the service and then click on the obituary. The webcast will remain online for 90 days.

Arrangements are under the care of Metcalf Mortuary, (435) 673-4221. Visit the Metcalf Mortuary website for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.
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