Paul W. Ruch, career railroader, dies

Paul W. Ruch, a career CSX railroader who enjoyed collecting vintage tractors, doing carpentry and working in his garden, died Friday of heart failure at Northwest Hospital in Randallstown. The Owings Mills resident was 89.

Paul William Ruch, son of Paul G. Ruch, a filling station attendant, and his wife, Mary Louise Brady Ruch, a Bendix Corp. worker, was born in Baltimore and raised on his family’s Owings Mills Farm.


He attended Loyola High School and after graduating in 1950 from Catonsville High School began working for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. During his nearly 40-year career, he held a variety of positions, from general foreman in the mechanical department to wreck master, facilities manager, and wreck investigative hearing officer.

Mr. Ruch served as a cryptographer in the Army Signal Corps in Germany from 1952 to 1955, when he was discharged and returned to the B&O.


Mr. Ruch worked at the railroad’s facilities in Curtis Bay, Riverside Yard, Locust Point and Bayview Yard in East Baltimore. He retired from successor company CSX in 1987, and after leaving the railroad worked for an additional decade for Charles A. Klein & Sons, an HVAC and plumbing firm, as warehouse manager.

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He was married in 1955 to the former Elizabeth Murphy, and in 1961 the couple settled into a home on Wards Chapel Road in Owings Mills, where they raised their five children.

Mr. Ruch enjoyed collecting vintage farm tractors, gardening and feeding his koi. He was an accomplished carpenter who built furniture, a gazebo, a barn, sheds, and an addition to his home. He also liked taking family vacations and long drives in his red Ford pickup truck and Ford Taurus.

Family members said if he couldn’t fix something, “he could rig it.”

He also liked spending Wednesday afternoons roaming the countryside with his best friend, Adrian “Woody” Woodin, and “sipping an ice-cold Guinness,” family members said.

Mr. Ruch was a longtime communicant of Old Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, where he was an altar boy and a Eucharistic minister. He also volunteered as a bingo worker, counted collection money, and assisted at the parish’s annual bazaar. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday at his church, 9531 Liberty Road, Randallstown. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing will be observed and masks worn.

In addition to his wife of 65 years, Mr. Ruch is survived by three sons, Michael Ruch, Brian Ruch and Timmy Ruch, and two daughters, Patty Klein and Debbie Cline, all of Owings Mills; a brother, Charles Ruch of Hampstead; 17 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.