Ernest Ruiz, M.D. - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

August 23, 1931 - November 5, 2020

Ernest Ruiz M.D., age 89, of Richfield, was born Aug. 21, 1931, in Los Angeles, CA, and passed away Nov. 5, 2020. Ernest served in the 7th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during the Korean War and received the Purple Heart due to injuries sustained in the battle of Pork Chop Hill. He went on to become a physician at HCMC and the University of Minnesota receiving numerous awards and honors and becoming a Professor Emeritus. He is preceded in death by parents, James and Frances Ruiz; and siblings, Charles and Sally Ruiz. Survived by his loving wife, Bernice; children, James (Emily) Ruiz, Chris (Jeff Jontz) Ruiz, Sarah (Sergei) Rakhmanov, Anthony (Jill) Ruiz; grandchildren, Anna Rakhmanov, Royal Rakhmanov, Ernest Ruiz and siblings, Richard and Lillian Ruiz.

At this time, no funeral services are scheduled.

Memorials may be directed to the Ernest and Bernice Ruiz Professorship in Emergency Medicine at the University of MN Foundation.


  1. Dennis Reynolds says:

    While raising my five children in Richfield, years ago, I played Senior Men’s Hockey at the Richfield Arena. We even played a game against the then Minnesota North Stars. Ernie was the head of HCMC Emergency Services at the time. He was one of the finest gentleman and caring individuals I have ever known. First class all the way.

  2. Thomas P Cairns says:

    So sorry to hear this news. Ernie taught several courses I took as a physician. But I used to work with Bernie at Fairview OR in the mid-60’s while I was a Medical Student as well and Ernie was there from time to time. Peace and comfort to Bernie and the family.

  3. Jean Iwen says:

    I was a physical therapist at HCMC and interacted with Dr. Ruiz in the burn unit. I recall him to be kind to patients, very professional, and appreciative of the staff. Truely a life well lived.

  4. Gary Fifield says:

    Bernie, Kelli and I send our deepest condolences. Ernie was a mentor and a wonderful friend. And of course an amazing leader who all of us lucky enough to work with him valued highly.

  5. Kari Lappe says:

    Mark and Kari express our deepest sympathies. Ernie was our mentor and friend and it was an honor to know him. His enormous impact in Emergency Medicine was felt not only in all of Minnesota but Nationally and Internationally as well. May he RIP.

  6. Helen Hansen says:

    Dr. Bob Collier and his wife Helen Hansen are deeply indebted to Ernie is so many ways. It was Ernie who recruited Bob to HCMC to serve on the faculty of the Emergency Medicine program, and he was Bob’s first chief. Ernie had such an innovative and creative brain and spirit, always identifying new technology and devices to improve the practice of Emergency Medicine. In addition, Ernie was a great friend and mentor. He and Bernie have been two of the most gracious and interesting people we have ever known. Ernie showed great support to Bob when he had to retire from Emergency Medicine after 30 years due to Parkinson’s. Ernie is and will always remain a bright light of intelligence, skill, and warmth.

  7. FRANK GAUDIO says:

    Bernie and Family,
    Kathleen and I send our deepest condolences and will keep you in our prayers. Reflecting on Thanksgiving this year, one of the things I was thankful for was having trained under Ernie. He was intelligent and kind, thoughtful and innovative, a true mentor and friend.
    I’m sure he’s in a place where the “Stabilization Room” is always empty, the neurosurgeons are pleasant and well-mannered, the internists never meet a patient they won’t admit, and all the female residents are strong, all the male residents are good-looking, and they all follow Ernie’s directions.

  8. Yvonne M Brutger says:

    Dear Bernie,
    Ernie had such an impact on my life and that of so many others. When I decided to go into Emergency Medicine, he became my medical school advisor. Dave Romness and I were very worried that we wouldn’t get in to the HCMC Residency program. No one from the U of M Medical School had previously been accepted. Ernie of course couldn’t tell me anything about the selection process, but he gave me his half smile and his eyes twinkled and he said “don’t worry”. Ernie was one of the founders of Emergency Medicine as we know it today.
    He had a hand in training so many great Emergency Physicians who now practice all over the country and are caring for people during this pandemic. What a legacy.
    Bernie – you were always part of the the HCMC resident family. I fondly remember the welcome picnics that you and Ernie hosted at your home.

    Yours, Yvonne Brutger

  9. Louis Ling says:

    Dear Bernie,

    I am so sorry to hear about Ernie’s passing but as you know, many of us thought that he was the most remarkable man. Like many others, he changed my life forever, he gave me a recommendation that landed a residency position and hired me to join the staff as the ninth faculty member in 1984.

    Ernie was gentle and supportive. He was the boss and could have just told us what to do, but instead, he brought us together every two weeks to divvy up the extra meetings and teaching assignments. We all knew we had to come and volunteer, otherwise Ernie would just volunteer for all of them. He had a unique way of settling disagreements in the most positive way. Whenever the group couldn’t agree on how we wanted to do things, he would say “That would be good to study!” It is his attitude that built his department and taught all of us to be inquiring minds. Besides me, I am sure that many others have stories and memories of Ernie and they are all good ones. Those stories and memories of Ernie live on. He left a gigantic impact. The men and women that he trained have gone on to save countless lives. The specialty of emergency medicine that he pioneered has come to the forefront of the America health care system. But most of all, those of us who knew him, learned from him and loved him. We will miss him dearly. Take care.

    Louis Ling

  10. DAVID Justis MD, PhD says:

    Bernice and Family,
    I was saddened to hear of Dr. Ruiz’s death in the Metro Doctors Spring 2021 issue and remember Ernie’s teachings that guided me through many years of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care. He was a great influence in my life as well as in so many, saving countless lives by his sharing of knowledge. I have always tried to emulate him.
    You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

    David L. Justis MD, PhD, FACEP, FAAEM Emeritus

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