Robert D. Rugg

Rugg—Robert D. Rugg, 75, on June 25, 2018, in Richmond, Va., surrounded by family, after a brief illness. Bob was born on July 13, 1942, in Princeton, N.J., to Mabel and Donald Rugg. His early mastery of music and French at Princeton High School opened possibilities and enjoyment that endured throughout his life. He studied geography and government and sang in the glee club at Wesleyan University and earned a master’s from the University of Chicago. In 1964, he married Donna Robinson of South Brunswick, N.J. He became a convinced Friend while studying at the University of Chicago and joined Chicago’s Fifty-seventh Street Meeting in 1969. He earned a doctorate from the University of Ottawa, sojourning at Ottawa Meeting in Ontario during his time there.

After teaching at Chicago State University for two years, in 1974 he moved with his family to Richmond, Va., where he taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning for 29 years, obtaining tenure and becoming a full professor. He often exhorted his students about the importance of time on task. Always enjoying a challenge, he consistently applied and developed new technologies in his work, initiating the department’s use of computers in mapping. He was among the first in the United States to incorporate computers in urban planning, developing techniques to combine market research, government demographic statistics, and mapping data. As an advisor to the U.S. Geological Survey, he helped establish international standards for exchanging map data, a prerequisite to the development of modern satellite navigation (satnav) systems.

He transferred his membership to Richmond Meeting in 1976. In his steadfast involvement in the meeting, he was clerk of the meeting, recording clerk, treasurer, and clerk or member of many committees, and he initiated and clerked Friendly Bible Study. He was a stalwart guardian of Quaker process and discernment, helping many Friends to understand these more deeply. In the wider Quaker community, he served American Friends Service Committee’s Middle Atlantic Region and Baltimore Yearly Meeting’s Indian Affairs Committee (IAC), arranging for the IAC to meet at the Rappahannock Tribal Center in eastern Virginia and to financially support the center’s community education during the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. In over 30 years of working with the Rappahannock, his direct interaction with individuals built valued personal relationships as he worked alongside them. His passionate advocacy was significant in the Rappahannock Tribe’s gaining official Federal recognition in 2018. Expanding his work with Native peoples to support for the environment in their home area, he served on the board of the Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Friends and was an instrumental proponent in the recent decision in Richmond County, Va., to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

He lost Donna to Alzheimer’s disease in 2008, but was fortunate to find love again with Sara Lupton-Jennings, called Sallie. They married in 2012 at Richmond Meeting, where they had first met. He loved to travel, cultivating relationships with researchers around the world. A proud, loving parent and grandparent, he was a thoughtful, caring person of many talents with a quick mind and a penchant for puns—especially during family meals. His survival of a serious health event in 2013 revitalized his spiritual life and illuminated his faith.

Bob is survived by his wife, Sallie Rugg; four children, Adam Rugg, Will Rugg (Lillian), Sam Rugg (Heidi), and Katy; six grandchildren; and a sister, Susan Parmenter.

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