Thursday, August 28, 2008

R.I.P., Rip Ruhlman

I never met Michael Ruhlman's dad, but judging by the man and the writer his son has become, and also by Michael's account of his life, he must have been quite a person. This poetic tribute to his dad prompted a huge outpouring of sympathetic comments on Michael's blog. If you know the Cleveland-based writer or his work, perhaps you'll want to leave a note yourself.


At 4:31 PM, Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

"He never missed a deadline."

Enough said.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Well noted. If so, he'd be one of the first writers I've ever heard who could say that. But his son is extraordinary, so I'm sure the old man was at least as extraordinary.

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Michael Franco said...


Like you, I am moved by the news of Rip's passing, and by the grief of the Ruhlman family. It is most kind of you to express your sympathy here on you blog. I am touched by your thoughtfulness, and I believe that Michael and his loving family, will be as well.

If you would like to learn about what family means to Michael Ruhlman, you may enjoy reading his charming and very personal book "House A Memoir", a book that resonated strongly with me.

Thank you John, for shining the light on a wonderful man and his loving family.

Michael Franco

At 4:56 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for visiting, Michael, and especially for leaving a comment. I've only thus far scanned that book, but I've read enough of his other work to know that it deserves a full reading at my earliest opportunity. And I've known Michael just well enough over the years--only slightly, really--to know that a great person lives behind those great books. But then, you wouldn't really have to meet him to understand that. His work breathes a love of life, goodness and humanity. In that way, his father of course lives on in him and his work.

At 10:48 PM, Anonymous Michael Franco said...

It was kind of you to respond to my comment, John, thanks.

You are remarkably correct in your assessment of Michael Ruhlman's character.

For example; as you know, on August 9, 2008 Michael's father, Richard Morgan Ruhlman, passed away in Michael's home. On August 11, 2008 Michael fulfilled his commitment to the Chautauqua Institution by appearing in front of 3000 people, to give a lecture on sustainable food. Along with him in attendance was his loving wife Donna, their two children and his mother. Here is a man, who in the troughs of grief, set an example for his children, by teaching them how to be strong and courageous. Rip would be very proud indeed.

At a book signing later that day, I had the great pleasure to meet Michael. He was very gracious and signed two of my books, one of them being House A Memoir. Although I felt as that I was in the presence of greatness, Michael is disarming with his very humble nature. I found that to be endearing.

Once again, I thank you for shinning the light on this wonderful man and his loving family.

Michael Franco

At 8:06 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That's quite a story, Michael. I'm so glad you shared that with us. You've put your finger on one of his key qualities, his disarmingly humble nature. It's what allows him to blend in and soak up the atmosphere with fellow chefs, world-class surgeons (in one of his books) and Maine boatmakers (in another), among others, before deftly illuminating their worlds on the page. He always keeps their story front and center, and his deep respect for them shines through the page.

And your mention of an audience of 3,000 reminds me of how he brings the same dedication and commitment to much smaller venues. A couple of years ago I helped organize a modest writing seminar, and asked him to headline it. The audience was thrilled to have him and hung on his every word, but it was only a few dozen people. Still, he connected so intensely and immediately with this group of writers (most of them of the aspiring to novice variety) by the way he talked so movingly and humbly about how the craft and discipline is the same for all of us. If you didn't otherwise know, you'd never have guessed from his talk that day that he was the author of nearly a dozen well-received books and a writer of growing national reputation. That day, in that room, he was just a writer like anyone else, sharing some thoughts about his craft and commiserating with fellow craftsmen. It was beautiful to watch.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous ruhlman said...

It's odd to happen on this post--like walking past a doorway and hearing a conversation about yourself. In that modest setting, you'd walk past, but in the odd blogosphere, i think comment is good, if only to say, thanks for recognizing that to give credit to me is to give credit to my father—who was a grammar nut, was fanatical about the fundamental clarity of a sentence, believed clarity should determine the style, and who hated laziness. It was his boss of many decades who told me he never missed a deadline. I believe him. That was Rip. No excuses. No bullshit. And a helluva lot of fun to be near.

Thanks you guys. never stop writing.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No excuses and no bullshit. A good code to live by. Thanks for stopping by, Michael.


Post a Comment

<< Home