Sarah Ruegg | 1941-2020

Margaret “Sarah” Ruegg was born on Aug. 3, 1941, in Cleveland, Ohio, and passed away on Dec. 17, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona. Sarah passed away due COVID-19 related complications at the age of 79.

Sarah was the only child born to her Swedish father Gustaf Rudolph Walter Peterson, and her Sylvanian mother Agnes Cecilia Royce Peterson. Sarah was the light of her father’s life, and was doted on from the time she was born as her parents had struggled to have children. Sarah often shared fond memories of her childhood, of playing on the swingset her father built and spending the summers at her Aunt Angela’s farm. At the farm, she loved feeding the animals, milking the cows and collecting eggs from the chickens. There were always baked goods, and Sarah especially enjoyed the family meals at lunchtime with her cousins.

After graduating from high school in Cleveland, Sarah moved into an apartment with some girlfriends and worked in the purchasing department for a large company. Sarah eventually drove out to San Francisco, California, where she would settle down and start a family. Sarah met her husband Frank Ruegg and they married in Mill Valley on Nov. 11,1967. They would go on to have two daughters. The family lived in various cities in the Bay Area before their love of the outdoors took them to Bend, Oregon. Sarah and Frank took their daughters camping every summer and that is how they discovered their love of the Pacific Northwest. They moved to a property where Sarah could relive her time on the farm as they quickly bought a horse and had a flock of geese on their pond, a pet rat and several dogs and cats. Sarah always loved animals! After five years, they decided to move into town and Sarah would work on fixing up their 1916 historic home. Frank had started a real estate company when they moved to Bend, and Sarah got her license and sold homes for a while. She would also fix up investment properties by doing the painting and other work herself.

In 1991, Frank and Sarah decided to head north and moved to Camano Island, Washington, for three years. They bought a boat and fell in love with Friday Harbor, Washington, which they quickly decided to call home and would reside until the present. Frank became the Commodore of the San Juan Island Yacht Club and they greatly enjoyed the new friends they made on the island and all of their boating adventures. Both the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands were frequently visited, along with Alaska on several occasions. Frank would catch the fish and Sarah would find a creative way to cook it all up night after night! They loved crabbing and shrimping, and the freedom of the water. Eventually, the couple decided to spend their winters in Tucson due to the cold and rainy Washington weather.

Some of Sarah’s favorite things to do were discovering new recipes in magazines (she had quite a collection!), sewing, making crafts with her grandchildren, and she dabbled with making her own jewelry and pottery. Sarah was a voracious reader and she was always seen carrying around a book. One of her absolute favorite things to do was playing bridge with new and old friends. She had bridge groups in both Friday Harbor and Tucson, and would play a computer version almost daily to sharpen her skills. Sarah could strike up a conversation with anyone she’d meet with her warm smile, and she was always up for a good time.

The big heartbreak of Sarah’s life was the accidental death of her daughter Christine Ruegg at the age of 19 in Bend, Oregon. We take comfort in knowing that they have been reunited. She is survived by her devoted husband of 53 years, Frank Ruegg; her daughter Brooke Pigott (Tom) of Seattle, Washington; and her three grandchildren, Reilly Pigott, Blake Pigott and Avery Pigott.

Memorial services will take place at a later date, where she will be laid to rest with her daughter in Bend, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, Sarah’s family suggests donations go to the San Juan Island Humane Society in her name.