Wallace William Ruiz, 94, passed away in his family home in Tunkhannock, on Friday Oct. 20, 2023.
Wally was born on Dec. 3, 1928, to his mother, Constanza Ramirez and his father, Alvaro Ruiz in the Bronx, N.Y.. His parents having divorced, Wally was raised by his adoring mother.
Wally enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17 in 1945. He was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and earned the Army's Parachutist Badge. Upon ending his enlistment, with the help of the GI Bill, he enrolled in college. While attending classes during the day, he waited tables in the Rough Rider Room at the Roosevelt Hotel in the evenings. In 1954 he graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor's degree in industrial engineering, the first in our family to graduate from college. While attending his graduation with a sea of post-war graduates, he was prompted to pursue an advanced degree and received a Master's degree in 1956. At the age of 22, he married Ruth Knox. They had three children together. They divorced in 1981.
Wally began his career as an engineer with Otis Elevator Co., in Yonkers, N.Y. During this time, he lived in Bayside, N.Y. He held three jobs to support his family, other than his day job at Otis, he was a waiter at a German restaurant on Long Island (Sunrise Village) and he taught at CCNY in the evenings. Wally also became a Cubmaster for Cub Pack 110 where he led 10 dens of approximately 100 scouts of which his two sons were members.
In the 1960s he became an expert in the early IBM business computers, the System/360. As a result of his expertise, his career through the 1960s, 70s and 80s led him to executive positions with major international corporations including International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), World Book, Gulf and Western Industries, Inc. (Gulf+Western), New York University and Philip Morris International where he installed and implemented large, complex computer systems. As an executive he frequently traveled to Europe and South America and lived for several years in Buenos Aires while with ITT. Wally retired in 1987.
In 1985, Wally and Marta Kovacs met while they both lived in the same apartment building in New York. They fell in love and were married in 1988. They both enjoyed the outdoors and eventually relocated to Marta's vacation home in Tunkhannock. Wally and Marta enjoyed traveling in Europe, South America and beyond. They especially loved their home and community. Marta, an energetic joiner, encouraged Wally's participation in community-based activities. Wally was Freemason and a member of the local Endless Mountain Chorus.
Wally was proud of his Hispanic heritage and enjoyed visits from his extended family in Ecuador and Chile. He loved Spanish music especially the old "tanguistas" like Carlos Gardel and more contemporary artists like Luis Miguel and Julio Iglesias. Wally had a beautiful singing voice that he inherited from his mother. He was also a wonderful dancer.
Wally was a strong and energetic man. He loved life and loved the company of people. He will be greatly missed.
Wally is survived by his wife, Marta Kovacs; his three children: Wallace, Jeffrey and Shannon; his loving grandchildren: Jens, Erik, Gillian and Hannah, his great-grandchildren; Reagan, Tatum and Mila, and his extended family, Bator Kovacs, Bela Kovacs, Teri Morgantini, Matthew Kovacs, Shannon Varsh and others.
Wally's remains will be cremated and a celebration of his life will be announced at a later time.