Lee Rulis, age 78, peacefully passed away at home on December 9th, 2023.
Lee was the first child born to Al and Aldona Rulis on January 30, 1945 at the Brooklyn Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, NY. The location was the result of his father being assigned to the Brooklyn Naval Yards as a naval officer during WWII. At the end of the war his family moved to Chicago, which was also the home city of his two sets of grandparents who had independently come to the United States as teenagers from Lithuania after WWI. Lee was very proud of his 100 percent Lithuanian heritage.
In 1952 Lee’s family moved to Ogden Dunes, Indiana, which is located on the southern shore of Lake Michigan. He spent his childhood playing in and around the lake and roaming the many sand dunes. He always said it was the perfect place to grow up. Lee attended Portage Township High School where he excelled in academics and athletics. Lee claimed that this was the one time in his life that he was “a big fish in a little pond”, especially in athletics. During his senior year he was selected MVP of the football and basketball teams and voted most valuable student athlete of the year.
Lee attended and received his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He loved his time at the U of M, and continued to be an ardent fan of all Michigan athletics. Upon graduation in 1968, he was accepted into the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School in Newport, RI. Because of his engineering degree, newly commissioned Ensign Rulis was sent to the Civil Engineer Corp Officer School in Port Hueneme, CA. He graduated as Officer Rulis, Civil Engineer Corp. Lee volunteered to go to Vietnam to try to understand what the conflict was about; his conclusion was that war is horrible.
Lee received an honorable discharge from active duty to attend graduate school at the University of Denver, where he received an MBA degree in 1972. While in Denver, Lee met his future life partner and soul mate Jacquie Walden. They were married on September 11, 1971 and began a family welcoming Stephen, Matthew, and Jeffrey. Over eight years the family moved to IL, OH, NC, and KS all in an effort to “search for the ideal job”. Finally, in January of 1979 the odyssey ended with Lee joining Thiokol and the family moving to Logan, UT.
Lee’s over 30 years at Thiokol, beyond his many recognized accomplishments, allowed for full access to all the activities Logan afforded. The Rulis family together enjoyed hiking, biking, skiing, fly fishing, golf, tennis, swimming and windsurfing at Bear Lake, and celebrating family gatherings. Lee greatly enjoyed, and excelled at, orchestrating dinner celebrations where all the family was involved in meal preparation.
Lee and Jacquie were also fortunate to travel both domestically and internationally with Hawaii being their “Happy Place”. Lee was very talented at landscaping and woodworking, immersing himself in improving their home inside and out. After retirement Lee wanted to increase his time giving back to the community and served on the Sunshine Terrace Foundation Board of Directors, eventually becoming board president. When speaking of this experience, Lee said his involvement was one of the most rewarding of his life.
The last two years Lee experienced numerous and difficult heart problems yet his lifetime spent living as an honorable, committed, and goal-driven person was never abandoned. He voluntarily underwent three clinical trials for heart valve repair at the Heart Institute in Murray, UT. Lee hoped to improve his quality of life, but had added intent to help thousands of others who may benefit from his choice to pioneer these procedures. Lee was just the 24th person in the US to undergo his last procedure in August 2023 and did so without hesitation.
He lived a life of honesty, conviction, integrity and above all, an unselfish and deep love and protection of his family. He will forever remain an incomparable gentleman.
Lee is survived by his spouse Jacquie Rulis, son Stephen (spouse Julie), son Matthew (spouse Lindsey), son Jeffrey (spouse Lisa), grandchildren Cole, Ty, Wes, Fischer, Lucy and Maisie and siblings Dean Rulis and Gail Cizek.
A memorial funeral Mass for Lee will be held on January 13th, 2024 from 11am-12pm at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church located at 725 S 250 E, Hyde Park, UT. A reception will follow that day from 1pm-3pm in the Banquet Room at Logan Golf & Country Club located at 710 N 1500 E, Logan, UT. For any questions regarding the mass or reception, contact White Pine Funeral Services.
In closing, thank you to family, friends and medical staff for the outpouring of love and support.