Funeral services for Mike Rutledge of Starbuck, were held Monday, July 13, 2009 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Glenwood. Father Peter Kirchner officiated. Burial was at the Minnewaska Lutheran Cemetery in Starbuck. Military Honors were provided by the Starbuck VFW.
Michael John Rutledge, son of Matt and Elsie (Newlin) Rutledge, was born Nov. 23, 1938 in Benson, where he grew up and began his education in a country school south of town. Mike later graduated from Benson High School in 1956. After high school, Mike enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Over his four years of service to his country, Mike was stationed in Greenland and in Rapid City, S.D. In June of 1959, Mike was united in marriage to Sharon Stinson in New Underwood, S.D. To this union, four children were born: Cindi, Bill, Matt and Peggi. Following their marriage, the couple lived in South Dakota while Mike served at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Following Mike's discharge from the Air Force, they lived for a short time in California before moving to Morris, where Mike worked as a carpenter. In 1966, the couple moved to the Starbuck area, where Mike has worked as a farmer and rancher ever since. Sharon passed away on Feb. 16, 2002.
Mike was someone who truly loved life and had a great sense of humor. He was a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Glenwood, as well as the Starbuck VFW, and was known as an avid rancher and hunter. He was also someone who never acted his age, and that was never more evident than when he was with his grandchildren, who he loved very much. The community of Starbuck will definitely notice his absence the first weekend of each November, which is when he always held his cattle roundup, moving his herd through the streets of town on their way back to his farm. Mike will surely be missed by all who knew and loved him.
Mike died on Friday, July 10, 2009 in Rochester, having lived to reach the age of 70 years.
He is survived by his four children: Cindi ( John) Upham of Lillian, Ala., Bill (Sherry) Rutledge of Bemidji, Matt (Donna) Rutledge of Hayfield and Peggi (John) Bockman of Gainesville, Fla.; 10 grandchildren: Jessica Parker, Corey Parker, Brandon Bockman, Steven Bockman, Andrew Bockman, Cody Rutledge, Collin Rutledge, Brady Rutledge, Cameron Rutledge and Carrie Rutledge; his fiancé: Kathy Graff of Starbuck; four brothers: Terry Rutledge, Denny Rutledge, Hugh Rutledge and Dave Rutledge and two sisters: Kay O'Neil and Sue Saulsbury. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sharon; one grandson, John Parker; one granddaughter, Gabrielle Rutledge; his parents: Matt & Elsie Rutledge and his grandparents.
Pallbearers for the service were Mike's grandchildren. Barbara Schliesman served as organist for the service, with Luann Johnsrud serving as soloist. Starbuck Funeral Home in Starbuck was in charge of the arrangements.