“He enthusiastically embraced James Rouse’s ideas of Columbia as an innovative, desegregated community,” according to a biographical profile provided by his family.
Active in community affairs, Mr. Ruther was a co-founder of the Columbia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and was an active member of the Columbia Democratic Club.
A chess enthusiast, he was the founder of the Howard County Chess Club and volunteered teaching chess to elementary schoolchildren. He founded the Tennis Table Club, and, being a fan of classic films, he was a longtime member of the Columbia Film Society.
After retiring in 1989, he began tutoring newly arrived immigrants, providing one-on-one English lessons and helping new Americans from Ethiopia to Romania learn the ways of life in their new country. He also tutored students in Howard County public schools.
An inveterate reader, he was the only male member of a women’s book club, family members said.
Mr. Ruther was an avid supporter of his wife’s political and civic leadership roles when she was serving as president of the Howard County League of Women Voters and during her 15-year stint as a member of the Howard County Planning Board.
He was a member of Columbia Jewish Congregation.
Services were held July 26 at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center in Columbia.