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John Harley Ruth

Obituary for John Harley Ruth

March 25, 1922 - June 9, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 97


Simply "Harley" to his friends, was born in Herbine, Arkansas on 25 March 1922. His father, Dr. Junius Ruth, was a country doctor and his mother, Lois May Hawkins, was a schoolteacher. Harley had a brother, Matthew Ruth and a sister, Minnie Louise Ruth Powell. Dr. Ruth's claim to fame: in 1932 he delivered a baby that would grow up and become famous as Johnny Cash.

Harley's first wife of 51 years, Dorothy R. Hutchings Ruth, passed away in 1994. Harley and Dorothy had two sons, James and John. Harley has six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. In 1995, Harley married his second wife, Antoinette-M. Sixt Ruth, whom he called his LIFE. They met on the golf course in Lagos, Nigeria in 1971 and then again in San Antonio, Texas almost 20 years later.

Harley graduated from Rison High School and immediately joined the US Army. He made the Military his career, first in the Army Field Artillery and then as a USAF pilot following his graduation as a sergeant pilot at Kelly Field, Texas in 1942. He retired in 1963 as Major USAF. Harley used to fly many types of aircraft as a ferry pilot before going overseas to India and China where he served in the China Burma India (CBI) contingent under the command of Lieutenant General Harold L. George. During WWII, he made 144 crossings of the Hump, the notoriously hazardous route across the Himalayan Mountains to China in a rather- by today's standards - primitive aircraft, the C-46. His cargo ranged from military supplies to food items, gold bars and just plain cash. Japanese Zero fighters added to the hazards the 18,000 ft. mountains and the inclement climate presented.

During his final 14 years in the USAF, Harley served in the Strategic Air Command, nine of them as Aircraft commander of the B-47 StratoJet, the plane that undoubtedly won the Cold War. Harley recalls carrying an atomic bomb on many of their long flights - just in case. They would endure seemingly endless missions around the globe relying on mid-air refueling, and adrenaline to keep them awake. Harley continued to work in civil aviation for another 29 years following his retirement from the USAF – he was a ferry pilot, where he used to deliver single handedly small to medium size aircraft worldwide (Australia, South Africa, South America and Europe).

He worked as test pilot for Cessna for a while and was the personal pilot of an Italian count/playboy and as corporate pilot for various smaller and mid-size companies in the hospitality sector and in the oil industry. As the playboy's pilot, he and Dorothy used to live in Acapulco, Mexico and Rome, Italy. He considered those years some of the best years of his life. He retired from flying at age 70.

From then on, Harley pursued his passion for playing bridge and golf as well as global travels with his second wife Antoinette, an accomplished competitive skier in her native Germany, who taught Harley how to ski during their honeymoon in 1995. They continued to go skiing until just a few years ago. He was a 71-year member of the Ancon Lodge of Boston, MA.

Harley passed away on 09 June 2019 from complications of Dementia.

MONDAY, JULY 1, 2019
11:15 A.M.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Association.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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