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David S. Ruhe

David RuheDavid S. Ruhe was born January 3, 1914, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He received bachelor’s master’s degrees in bioscience at Michigan State college and his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine in 1941. In 1986 he also received an honorary doctoral degree from the latter.

Though his initial research was in tropical medicine with a focus on malaria, he specialized in public health with an emphasis in audio visual communication. He eventually became a senior surgeon in the U.S. Public Health Service, then director of the Medical Film Institute of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He came to Kansas in 1954 and founded the Department of Medical Communication at the University of Kansas School of Medicine of which he became a full professor and chairman.

He published books on the ongoing research, viewing and appraisal of medical films, and produced a large number of medical films for educational purposes.

Dr. Ruhe married Margaret Kunz in 1940 at Urbana, Illinois, with whom he had two sons. The next year he accepted the Bahá’í Faith. His wife had grown up Bahá’í (Bahai) after her mother accepted the religion in 1916.

In 1942 Ruhe was elected to the governing council of the Bahá’í community of New Orleans, Louisiana. He served on various such councils, or spiritual assemblies, as his professional career took him from place to place.

In February 1954 his career brought him to Kansas. Five years later he was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. He was the first member of the Kansas Bahá’í community to be so elected. After election of the national assembly in 1963, he was elected its secretary. This meant leaving Kansas.

For five years he served the American Bahá’í community in this office, then in 1968 he was elected to the international Bahá’í council, the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel. This council coordinates the affairs of the entire Bahá’í world community. He served there until he retired in 1993.

He and his wife then settled in New York state to be near their children. In retirement he did not rest. He completed writing books he had started decades before and founded a video production company to supply videos for the American Bahá’í community. Some of these have been broadcast on cable and commercial networks breaking new ground in supplying information to the public about the Bahá’í Faith.

Dr. David Ruhe’s professional and Bahá’í publications have added a luster to the literature of Kansas. He died in 2005 and is buried in Newburgh, New York.

Entry: Ruhe, David S.

Author: Duane L. Herrmann

Author information: Herrmann has degrees in education and history from Fort Hays State University. He has published widely on the history of the Bahai faith with publications now in a dozen countries in four languages. His history book By Thy Strengthening Grace received the Ferguson, Kansas, History Book Award in 2007. He has actively studied the Bahai faith since 1969.

Date Created: January 2014

Date Modified: February 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.