For Project 2,996. Written September 11, 2009
Known as "Paulie" or "the Gentile Giant," Paul was a New York City firefighter, assigned to Ladder 25, located on West 77th Street.
A 1973 graduate of Syracuse University, he was married to wife of 20 years, Rita (Lynne) Ruback, and had six children. Additionally, the Rubacks took in over 30 foster children. She remembers him here:
"He loved the mountains. We went to Caterskill Falls, in the Catskills, every year.. He loved to hike and camp. He picked up playing a guitar and enjoyed music of all kinds. And He loved his fellow firefighters. They all loved him very much, also."
Lynne remembered him as someone who never raised his voice. Instead, he had a calm which couldn't help but rub off on those who were around him.
"Paul always had an ear for anyone who needed to talk. He knew how to listen. And just the right thing to say to make you feel better. Paul was never too tired for his children. He could come from a day's work and if David wanted to play ball he would say "sure" and out he would go."
John van der Schlaff, remembered him from high school days.
"Paul was a terrific person. I grew up in Goshen, next to Chester, and played soccer against him in high school. He was a reat all-around athlete and great person to know."
Lori Wilson remembered Paul as "..'dad' to me as a young girl. His daughter and I were best friends so he was.... 'my dad.' I remember him as a caring devoted man.
On September 11, 2001, Paul was called to the World Trade Center, after terrorists had flown two airplanes into both of the Twin Towers. He was one of 343 New York firefighters who would lose their lives rescuing people from the World Trade Center. A memorial service was held for him on November 3, 2001, at at St. Patrick's Church, 55 Grand St., Newburgh, N.Y. His body was discovered and then laid to rest on March 26, 2002. He was scheduled to retire from the NYFD in February of that year.
Lori Wilson concluded her memorial for Paul Ruback, stating.
"I will always remember him as a hero as well as a man that died doing what he loved to do....Save Lives!"
"He will always be remembered for his gentle ways, and Loved for the friend that he was to all," remembered Lynne Ruback. "He is surely a hero in our eyes. We miss him very much."
May God Bless and be with the friends and family of Paul G. Ruback, as well as all our heroes who were taken from their loved ones on September 11, 2001.