Max J. “Buzz” Ruttger Jr., born Sept. 22, 1920, to Rosie and Max Ruttger in Bay Lake, Minn., passed away Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, at his home at Bay Lake. He is survived by daughters, Cynthia Ruttger Lennie, Chanhassen, Minn., Anne Ruttger Neafie, Elm Grove, Wis.; and son, Gregory Ruttger, Alton, Ill.; grandchildren, Elizabeth Stokes, Victoria, Minn., Christopher Walston, Miami; two great-grandchildren, Nicholas William Stokes Jr. (Cole) and Caroline Marie Stokes. He is preceded in death by his wife, Carol J. Ruttger; brother, Donald Ruttger; and son, Max J. Ruttger III.
Buzz grew up at Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge, attended the Bay Lake School and graduated from Crosby-Ironton High School. He attended the University of Minnesota where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and served as student manager of the Minnesota Golden Gophers 1941 National Champion football team. He was a member of the Golden Gophers M Club. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was a naval flight instructor during World War II in Corpus Christi, Texas, teaching pilots to fly the PBY Catalina. Buzz owned and operated Ruttger’s Pine Beach Lodge on Gull Lake and the Lauderdale Ruttger, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He met the love of his life, Carol, while she was employed at Ruttger’s Pine Beach Lodge. They married in 1944 and had four children. He loved sailing, owned a number of sailboats on Gull Lake, and competed in the Gull Lake Sailing Club. Other interests included ice boating from the time he was a young man even building his own ice boat with his brother during high school. In his years after the Navy he owned a series of private planes for leisure and transporting his family to and from their home in Florida. He served in Brainerd Lions Club and Brainerd Rotary, where he was awarded a Paul Harris Fellow, and was a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where he ushered and served in the Men’s Club. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to the Golden Gopher Football Fund at the University of Minnesota.
Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brainerd. Visitation will begin the hour before services at the church on Friday.
Arrangements by Nelson-Doran Funeral Home and Crematory in Brainerd.