Richard Ruth, 78, of Great Barrington

In what eventually became his greatest passion, he received an acupuncture degree at East-West College in Sarasota, Florida, being the oldest member of his class.

Richard Ruth, 78, of Great Barrington died Aug. 1, 2020. Richard William Ruth was born Dec. 15, 1941, in Queens, New York. His formative years were spent in his beloved Glendale section, where he played outside all day until the streetlights went on, signaling it was time to go home. By the time he was ready for middle school, he moved to Levittown, New York, where he played football and baseball at Levittown Memorial High School.

Richard decided that his best option for his future was to enlist in the Air Force. He was stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona where he became a crew chief, maintaining- B-47 airplanes on the flight deck during the Cuban missile crisis. While there, he pursued an associate degree at Arizona College and then transferred to Arizona State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

Upon his return to New York, he began his professional career as an institutional researcher for financial institutions on Wall Street. (His first introduction to the Berkshires came as a result of calling on the First Aggie Bank in booming GE-centered Pittsfield.) He also began an MBA program in economics at this time.

After a variety of jobs in business and finance, Richard took the time to reassess his plans for the future, resulting in his decision to take a break from the rigors of Wall Street. An avid sailor, he was invited to crew on a private yacht sailing to Europe, where he eventually traveled for six months. A humorous, natural-born storyteller, he has regaled friends with his experiences on both land and sea.

He returned to the Berkshires when he had an opportunity to run Camp Deerwood, previously a children’s camp, as an adult singles resort in Great Barrington. It is there where he met Karen Pogoda, who would eventually become his wife. A personal health crisis and Dick’s openness to exploring alternatives impacted the rest of his life. He wanted to dedicate himself to helping others heal as he had, using nontraditional approaches. He began his journey as a licensed massage therapist working at both Kripalu and Canyon Ranch and had a private practice. Still wanting to broaden his skill set in his desire to help others, he became a licensed physical therapist assistant and worked at Geer. In what eventually became his greatest passion, he received an acupuncture degree at East-West College in Sarasota, Florida, being the oldest member of his class. Upon completion of his degree, he returned to the Berkshires to open a private practice. Seeing how the benefits of acupuncture could be more widely available, he became a tireless advocate for these treatments to receive insurance coverage

A past member of Rotary, he wanted to showcase Great Barrington’s airport and conceived the idea of the very successful Bike ‘n’ Fly fundraiser. When not participating in educational seminars and classes, he was an avid golfer and lover of the outdoors, and enjoyed pursuing drawing and painting while spending time with his beloved cats Liza Jane, Earl and Junior. A compassionate, creative, sensitive, outspoken, humorous person. He will be missed.

Donations in his name can be made to the Berkshire Humane Society earmarked for Purradise c/o Finnerty & Stevens Funeral Home, 426 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230. To send remembrances to his family please go to