Joseph Frank Ruhland - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

September 27, 1953 - December 7, 2022

Joseph Frank Ruhland

Age 69, of Richfield, Minn., died tragically in a drowning accident on Dec. 7, 2022, while vacationing near Orlando, Fla.

Joe was born to Richard and Mary “Jean” (née, Hameister) Ruhland as the oldest of four brothers and two sisters. After graduating from Eden Valley/Watkins High School, Eden Valley, Minn., he attended the University of St. Thomas and the University of Minnesota, earning his B.S. in Accounting. Joe worked briefly for Cook Grain before transitioning to a career in the commercial paving industry, where he worked and eventually led crews at Hardrives, Inc., Master Asphalt, and Bituminous Roadways, Inc. Joe finished his career at Pine Bend Paving of Hastings, Minn. His eye for perfection and excellence will be greatly missed.

Active, loyal, charismatic, resilient and inquisitive, Joe drew people in and never met a stranger. His lifelong belief in the importance of education and in looking for the lesson in all situations remains a beacon to everyone blessed to know him. Joe’s wit and good nature enriched many a conversation, and his trademark questions (that he already knew the answer to) kept you on your toes. Joe’s work ethic was matched only by his legendary frugality and disdain for excuses and creature comforts: “Stay hungry” was a favorite saying. Among his many interests, Joe was an avid golfer, bowler, reader, and investor, and he enjoyed traveling the country with his sons and lifelong friends. If you were looking for a happy hour buddy, you could usually find him at such mainstays as Pizza Luce and Lucky 13 in Mendota, Minn.

Joe is preceded in death by his parents and leaves behind the love of his life, Jackie; sons Greg (Bill Nelson) and Jordan; brothers Steve (Andrea), Jim (Kathy), and Rich; and sisters Marny and Val, along with scores of friends across the Twin Cities and his native hometown of Eden Valley.

In lieu of flowers, we invite you to simply be a good person to others, chat up the person next to you in the elevator, play the devil’s advocate, or make a donation in his honor to one of his favorite charities, the Union Gospel Mission or Catholic Charities. A celebration of Joe’s life will be held every day by those who loved him.


  1. Mark Rogers says:

    My friend Joe will be greatly missed. By me, and so many others. Joe was one of the finest people I have ever worked with or knew. Fly high good friend.

  2. Dale Klooster says:

    Such a beautiful obituary honoring Joe for the man he was, and a man that will always be remembered for his kindness and bigger than-life-personality. My condolences to Jackie, Greg, Jordan, the Ruhland family, and all that had the pleasure of knowing Joe. Rest in peace, my friend.

  3. Duane & Christin Tackett says:

    We were saddened to hear about Joe. He was a great happy hour friend at Houlihan’s in Richfield. What a smart, funny and always welcoming guy. We will miss his infectious smile. Joe’s amazing spirit will be remembered by so many of us. Sending much love, strength and peace to his family.

  4. Sallie Nelson says:

    Dave and I are so very sorry for your loss. We are keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.
    Aunt Sallie and Uncle Dave

  5. Margaret Koele says:

    Greg to you and your family, I am so very sorry, such a legacy of memories and greatness to have in your hearts forever. Prayers for all as you celebrate the life of your dad and the great moments that will be cherished.

    • Mona Haag says:

      I was fortunate enough to have been a class mate of Joe’s beginning in first grade and ending in our senior year of highschool. The friendship continued through the years even though we didn’t see each other very often, and our last fun visit was at our 50th class reunion last year, so many cherished memories. My sincere sympathy to his family on this tragic loss of such a wonderful man. May you find comfort in your precious memories. I will always remember that wonderful man and his great smile! A donation has been made to Union Gospel mission in Joe’s memory. Hugs and sympathy to all.

  6. Paul Raymond Manderfeld says:

    Dear Jackie, Greg, and Jordan, please accept my deepest condolences for your loss. How lucky you all were to have him in your lives. Your entire family is in my thoughts and prayers. Dear cousin Jackie, I wish I would be able to attend the memorial or the funeral. That is my weekend to work here in the Des Moines metro.

  7. Bill Ruhland says:

    To say “first cousin” is an understatement, he was my brother, and cherished friend.
    Always happy, loyal, and genuine. So very many happy trip adventures, phone calls, texts and memories, right up to the end, our clan has already vowed to carry on without him, but for him. That’s what he’d want, gone but never ever forgotten. Love you Joe!!

  8. Bill Healy says:

    A true gentleman and scholar. Hope to meet again on the other side sir.

  9. Bill Lorntson says:

    As a matter of fact, I WAS looking for a Barstool Buddy, and Joe was one of the best ever!! We only knew him the last 6-8 years, mostly from barstools at Houli’s or the 5555. I always looked forward to having a beer with Joe. We never had a problem finding 45-60 minutes’ worth of nonsense to cover.

    We’re still in a state of shock over this sudden and tragic event.

    Rest in peace, Asphalt Joe!!

    Bill & Annette Lorntson

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