Carl Lester Rues
January 13, 1922 – October 29, 2018
Carl Lester Rues, 96, of Fulton passed away Monday, October 29, 2018, at Presbyterian Manor. He was born in to the family of Anton and Elizabeth Rues on a clear winter's day in January, 1922. The family was now complete with five children: Cecilia, Josephine, Ernest, Henry and Carl being the youngest. They lived in Greeley, Kansas, a farming community not far down the railroad tracks from Kansas City. The family's homestead had a barn for the milk cow, a pen and shed for the hogs, a coop for the chickens, a large garden plot and a shotgun for rabbits. Electric lights had recently replaced the gas lights in their two story framed house. Running water was more than a decade into the future. A comfortable life required ingenuity in making gadgets and furniture; as well as being able to fix whatever broke. One of Carl's lifelong enjoyments was to design labor-saving devices and to do all his own repairs. All his life Carl's tools were in order on the ready to use. His knives were always sharp. Carl's Dad, Anton, earned hard cash as the manager of the Greeley Milling Company, a co-op grain elevator and general store governed by the local farmers associated with The Grange: ("In essentials, unity: in non-essentials, liberty: in all things, charity"). Here, along side his Dad, Carl labored his school years shoveling train cars of grain or coal and then helping mother find the sack of flour with the sack's matching print to finish sewing her daughter's new dress. Carl's Dad, Anton never graduated from grade school, coming to America as a six year old in 1886. Anton's parents were from the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. They spoke German and Anton's father wore earrings. Tragically Anton's father died in a quarry accident within six months of their arrival in America. Anton's mother, a proud and determined woman, led her children to sacrifice and save for the family. The immigrant family succeeded. Anton even took his turn at the thankless position of small town mayor. Thinking back, Carl said he could never see himself as a first generation American. He simply knew that he just was an American. While Carl did chafe under the family's demanding work, he was engrained with that immigrant grit and that American duty to succeed. Carl's mother, Elizabeth, was a gentle happy soul. As a child, Elizabeth had lived happily in a stored one room sod house where bull snakes searched for mice in the thatched roof; despite the reality that drought and business panics brought hard times of hunger into her childhood. During the 1930's Depression, Carl remembered his mother feeding the occasional men who wandered through Greeley on the freight trains. While Carl was always well fed, warmly clothed and sheltered in a comfortable, though drafty home, he did watch classmates ill clothed and too gaunt. Carl learned not to make quick judgments about the misfortunes of others. He wanted to know their back story. In a conversation, Carl would complain about the price of gas or propane or beef; yet, later in the conversation he would say he wished she could give more for so many needed help. Carl remained a life-long, quite and consistent giver to charities. Carl went to the Catholic parish school of Saint John the Baptist; there he learned more than schooling. Throughout his life he would go to church to ponder the difficulties in his life. He would read the Daily Missal's Bible verses and prayers. A blessed rosary would emanate hallowed mystery. Carl held heartfelt religious beliefs that directed his life; though he never seemed dogmatic nor righteous towards others. Rather, in a competitive, self-promoting world, religion consistently reminded him to consider the feelings and needs of others. Upon graduating from high school, Carl wanted to go to college to study accounting. However, knowing there was no money for college, Carl borrowed money from his brothers for a course in metal work at Fry Aircraft School in Kansas City. After finishing the six week course, with several fellow students, drove to the aircraft factories on the West Coast. That week, Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego was hiring so that is where they stopped. Carl showed promise; soon he was assigned to work independently patching damaged metal parts. His foreman told him he would have made him a lineman if he wasn’t so young. Carl jo8ing the Catholic Youth Organization. With them, he hiked and camped in the mountains east of San Diego. They had beach parties. He was best man for a friend’s wedding. Life had opened up for Carl. Then Pearl Harbor was bombed. The night of the news, Carl stood on the dark San Diego Beach. There was a self-defense blackout. Carl wondered what lay across that dark sea. Military Service seemed inevitable. Where would he be over the next years? Would the Allies win? Carl went into the Navy. Basic training was at the Great Lakes Naval Station close to Chicago. He trained on an old paddle wheeler decked out as an aircraft carrier. Next he was sent to the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia where he spent the war on shake down cruises for newly constructed air craft carriers. The workings of the carriers and their airplanes fascinated him. At the war’s end, long talks with his oldest sister about the importance of staying close to family persuaded Carl to start a new life in Kansas City. With the GI Bill he was able to go to college. He chose Rockhurst, a Jesuit college in Kansas City, where he studied for a Business Degree in Labor Management. Ideally this degree would allow him to make good money and at the same time be helpful to others. Considering the books Carl kept from college such as the Harvard Classics and Works of Thomas Aquinas, he did more that study for a job. Carl was interested in the great ideas of man. After graduation, Carl was offered a job in a corporation’s personnel department. However, Carl surprised himself turning down that offer to work for Dumont Aviation buying and selling hardware for aircraft. Carl enjoyed hardware. When Dumont closed its Kansas City office, Carl chose to become an independent manufacturer’s representative. Carl represented the products of small foundries and tool shops to the large aerospace companies. Carl was enthusiastic about talking shop with both the large companies and small hardware producers. Some of the nuts and bolts in the Mercury, Gemini, and F-16 programs came from the secondary manufacturers Carl represented. Carl often said, “Unless something gets sold: nothing happens!” As the aerospace and defense industries changed, Carl represented new technologies such as metal plating and old technologies as reconditioning commercial trucks. The life of an independent business man was one of uncertainty and adaptation. At times, this life required real 3 o’clock in the morning courage. For Carl, the anxiety was worthwhile in order to retain his independence to hold on to his idea of a good life. Carl supported his family exceptionally well. During college, Carl met Julie (nee Mick) at his oldest sister’s home. Julie and Carl shared many similar aspirations. Upon his college graduation, they were married and made their home in Kansas City. They had two sons, Michael and Mark, who survive. Early on, Carl’s most pressing concerns were to succeed in business to support his family. Over time as Carl did well, he and Julie were able to spend more and more time together, cooking, gardening, traveling, as well as visiting friends and relatives. Carl became an accomplished wood carver. There were many happy Thanksgivings, Christmases, New Year’s parties, Easters and Fourth of Julys at their home. Outings and picnics, family reunions and neighborhood parties, weddings and funerals, dining and concerts were regular occurrences. Carl and Julie relocated to Fulton in 2006 to be closer to family. They were parishioners of St. Peter Catholic Church in Fulton and made many friends.
Carl was very good company. He genuinely liked people. His was a good and honorable life. Visitation will be held on Thursday, November 1, 2018, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at Debo Funeral Home in Fulton. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, November 2 at St. Peter Catholic Church at 9:00 a.m. Burial will be held at a later date in Kansas City.
- Anton Rues, Father
- Elizabeth Rues, Mother
- Julie Mick Rues, Wife
- Michael Rues, Son
- Mark Rues, Son
- Joseph Zimmermann, Pallbearer
- Harold Siebert, Pallbearer
- Warren Hollorah , Pallbearer
- Michael Rues, Pallbearer
- Mark Rues, Pallbearer
c/o Debo Funeral Home 833 Court Street , Fulton, Missouri 65251
- Visitation Thursday, November 1, 2018
- Mass of Christian Burial Friday, November 2, 2018
Carl Lester Rues
November 4, 2018
Mike and Mark,
I am so sad to hear about your Dad (my great uncle).
I have talked with him a few times over the last few years. He was always so live spirited and such a sweet man. He was always a very special uncle to my Mom too (Donna Mick).
I have to say I have so many fun memories with My Uncle Carl and Aunt Julie going to they're beautiful house at lake of the Ozarks. Loved seeing him when he would drop by for a visit at the Mick house when we were kids. We are so lucky to be part of such a wonderful family.
You will miss him dearly,
Take care, hugs