Larry Joe Ruland: 1939-2019
Larry Joe Ruland was born to Henry and Helen (Ballard) Ruland on April 5, 1939 in Pinedale, Wyoming. He was a beloved brother to Mary Ann, John, Rita and Hank.
Larry’s love for horses blossomed while he was a small boy, and he carried that love with him for the rest of his life. As a child he worked for the Green River Cattle Association. He started out “jingling horses”, and he spent hours in the saddle making sure the horses were maintained. He graduated to the life of a real cowboy under the wing of Rex Wardell (one of the great ones). Larry spent his life with cattle and horses, and those who knew him can attest that he was a legendary cowboy.
While in his teens, Larry worked at the Z-U Dude Ranch, and he became lifelong friends with those who were drawn to his warm and outgoing personality. The Ruland family lived at the 2-E ranch in Sublette county Wyoming, and early on it was obvious that he would be an asset to that ranch. He proved himself as a genuine cattleman and horseman. He was a fantastic bareback bronc rider, and some of the old timers stated he could have been a champion as good as Larry’s friend Joe Alexander.
Larry was united in marriage to Lenora Bloom on June 2, 1962 in Quinn, SD. They were Blessed with five children: Kelly, Shaun, Lorie, and TJ. Another son, Larry John, was stillborn. Larry and Lenora made their home and their life together on a ranch in Quinn, SD where they remained all their married life. On that beautiful ranch they raised their family and spent their time riding and roping on the prairie. Larry was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was an avid team roper, and spent hours teaching his children, grandchildren and many others (too numerous to count) how to rope and ride. He won numerous, saddles, buckles, breast collars, and other awards, most of which he gave away to family and close friends. He never retired from competing, and at age of seventy-nine he won his last saddle, which he gifted to his great-grandson.
Larry always had a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye, and a hand that was willing to help anyone in need. He made his home on the prairie of Western South Dakota, but in his heart he was always a mountain man. He and his family made an annual trek to Pinedale, Wyoming every summer to visit the Ruland clan. The memories of Dad teaching the kids to fish and of him sharing all the beauty of his beloved Wind River Range in the Rocky Mountains are a treasure.
In the late 90’s Larry and Lenora built an indoor arena and hosted many roping and barrel racing events. They thoroughly enjoyed their time spent in the barn. Larry was a talented horseman who always seemed to find gifts in the horses someone else had given up on. He was the same way with people.
He was the real deal, and he once stated that his greatest achievement was to join Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and he remained loyal to that cause to the end. Helping others beat their addiction to alcohol became a mission in his life, and he made a significant impact on the lives of others in that regard. He rarely missed the weekly meeting, and he found peace and strength through sharing his struggle with others.
Larry passed on the gift of the “Cowboy Way” to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren by instilling in them the integrity of what that means. You make mistakes, you dust yourself off, you get up and you try again. Everything they know about horses, ranching and competition came from him. He was the definition of “True Grit”
He was so loved and will be greatly missed by his wife of 56 years Lenora Ruland, daughter Kelly and Jem Kjerstad of Quinn; son Shaun and Michelle Ruland of Quinn; daughter Lorie and Dale Cahoy of Sheridan, Wyoming; son TJ and Miranda Ruland of Quinn. 12 grandchildren; Dillon, Ryan, Brittany, Sister Joan Kolbe, and Paige Kjerstad; Riley and Shelby Ruland; Kylee Frost and Shyanna Cahoy; Iyla, Maverick and Pruitt Ruland. Eight great-grandchildren. His sister Rita (Richard) Summers of Shreveport, Louisiana and brother Hank (Tami) Ruland of Pinedale, Wyoming. Preceding him in death were his infant son Larry John; his parents Henry and Helen Ruland, sister Mary Ann, and brother John.
A visitation will be held from 6-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 31 at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Wall.
Memorial services will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, April 1 at the Wall Community Center.
Burial will follow at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Quinn. A luncheon will be held at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church following the burial.