Robert W. “Bob” Ruark


Robert W. “Bob” Ruark, age 92, of Cornelia, Georgia joined the Heavenly Choir on Thursday, September 13, 2018 following a brief illness.

Mr. Ruark was born in Athens, Georgia on January 13, 1926 to the late Emory L. and Ruby Saye Ruark.

He attended Chase Street Elementary School through the 9th grade. After the death of his mother, at the age 14 his father enrolled him in Riverside Military Academy where he graduated on June 3, 1943. Upon graduation, he joined the Marine Corps to serve in World War II. He served our country in the H and S Battery, the 4th Battalion, the 11th Artillery Regiment, Company L., and the 1st Marine Division. He, along with 104 Marines, landed September 15, 1944 and fought on the Island of Peleliu, where he was injured and spent 14 months in Balboa Veteran’s Hospital in San Diego, California. He underwent numerous surgeries and rehabilitation to regain the use of his left arm. Bob was medically discharged on November 30, 1945. He was awarded the Purple Heart by L.C. Reinburg.

Bob returned to Athens, Georgia in 1946 to work with his father in the family business, Industrial Cleaners. His favorite pastime was entertaining crowds of people as a stunt pilot at the local airport. Bob met his bride to be, Carleen Dial, also of Athens, after showing off his stunt pilot skills. They were married June 1, 1947 at Tuckston Methodist Church. In 1951, the opportunity to buy Piedmont Cleaners and Laundry led them to Cornelia, Georgia. In the early 1970’s, he expanded his business to include a men’s clothing store called North East Georgia Men’s World. The Ruarks became lifelong members of First Baptist Church where Bob enjoyed singing in the choir. Cornelia at this time was on the verge of development. Bob appreciated the opportunity to be on community committees to contribute to the growth of Habersham County. He was an officer of the Habersham Athletic Booster Club, Commanding Officer at the VFW, and a Rotary Club Charter member. He was instrumental in establishing a location for the hospital, bringing Natural Gas to the area, the development of the airport in Baldwin, Georgia, and was secretary and treasurer for the local Republican Party. Bob enjoyed his retirement by keeping busy with his car wash and mini storage business in Toccoa, Georgia.

Bob’s greatest pride was his family. He enjoyed time with his children and grandchildren at Georgia football games, watching Braves baseball, and attending sporting events of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Bob was a very generous provider for his family. He was a devoted husband, caring father and loving grandfather. The Ruarks were active members of their community for 67 years.

Mr. Ruark was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years, Carleen Dial Ruark; parents, Emory and Ruby Saye Ruark; brothers, Herbert Ruark, Joe Ruark, and Kelly Ruark; and step-mother, Mary Ruark.

Survivors include his son and daughter-in-law, Keith and Donna Ruark of Demorest, GA; daughter and son-in-law, Bobbie Ruark Jones and Dennis Jones, of Gainesville, GA; sister and brother-in-law, Frances Tumlin and Bill Tumlin; brother, Charles Ruark; grandchildren, Carla Lasseter and husband, Shane Lasseter, of Gainesville, GA; Brenton Ruark, Brett Ruark, and Carlee Ruark, all of Demorest, GA; great-grandchildren, Grant Lasseter, Drew Lasseter, both of Gainesville, GA; and Peyton Ruark, of Demorest, GA.

Funeral Services will be held at 4:00 p.m., Sunday, September 16, 2018 at Whitfield Funeral Home, North Chapel with Dr. Eric Spivey and Rev. David Turner officiating. Interment will follow in Yonah Memorial Gardens with military honors provided by the United States Marine Corps, the Grant Reeves VFW Post 7720, the American Legion Post 84, and the Rabun County DAV#15.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. to the funeral hour at Whitfield Funeral Home, North Chapel on the day of the service.

Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church of Cornelia, P.O. Box 96, Cornelia, Georgia 30531.

Arrangements are in care of Whitfield Funeral Home & Crematory, North Chapel, 245 Central Avenue, Demorest, Georgia. 706-778-1700

Those wishing to express online condolences to the family may do so by visiting

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