HARRY RUDDLE / 1947-2008
Former councilman had love for land
HILO » Harry Ruddle, formerly a Hawaii County councilman and information officer for Big Island Mayor Herbert Matayoshi, died Saturday in Kona Community Hospital. He was 61.
The initiative to tap him to run for County Council started in Milolii
From a West Hawaii kamaaina family, Ruddle gained political exposure as director of information and complaints during Matayoshi's long run as mayor from 1974 to 1984. Afterward he turned to selling cars, a line of business that ran in the family.
One night in 1988, community leader Gil Kahele and friends were in remote Milolii in South Kona, trying to think of someone Democrats could run for County Council.
Ruddle, asleep nearby in his pickup truck outfitted as a camper, woke up and joined the conversation. Kahele noted Ruddle's service with Matayoshi, his community involvement such as playing Santa Claus, and participation in a successful effort to stop development at Makalawena Bay when West Hawaii was being inundated with new resorts. Suddenly Ruddle began reciting poetry he had written about his love for the land.
"Harry made life simple. Life was fun and simple. He wasn't about bells and whistles. He was straight from the heart."
Big Island mayoral candidate
"I started getting chicken skin," Kahele said.
"Harry, you're the guy," he told Ruddle.
Ruddle served just one four-year term but kept his eye on politics from that time forward.
Current mayoral candidate Billy Kenoi said he learned from Ruddle.
"Harry made life simple. Life was fun and simple," Kenoi said. "He wasn't about bells and whistles. He was straight from the heart."
Ruddle is survived by wife Linda; son Spencer; stepson Eric Miranda; stepdaughter Michele Miranda; mother Aloha S.; brother Reginald; hanai brother David Williams; sisters Leilani Nishiyama, Eleanor Kunitake and Roberta Jaques; and a hanai grandchild. Services, 2 p.m. Sunday at St. James Episcopal Church. Call after 1 p.m. Scattering of ashes at a later date. Casual attire. Flowers welcome. Donations suggested to American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society or other charity.