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Community organizer and educator Bud Rue had a lasting impact on the characters and quality of life of thousands of people with whom he came in contact and who continue to benefit from his charitable activities. Among the organizations that he founded was Innisfree Corporation, which he served as president for 23 years until his death in 1993. Innisfree was the base for many informal groups and formal organizations which helped to change the evolving rural culture of the Upper Delaware river valley. Rue founded a chapter of Habitat for Humanity serving Wayne County, Pennsylvania and served as that group's first president, leaving behind an active self-sustaining local group which continues to provided affordable housing for people in need. He helped to found an Amnesty International chapter serving the Upper Delaware river valley; was a charter member of the board of directors of the Upper Delaware Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, now based in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania; and was a founding board member of The River School, a parent-run Montessori elementary school that was housed on the Innisfree property in Milanville, Pennsylvania.
Clyde Bieber Rue, known as "Bud" by family and friends from infancy to the end of his life, was born August 2, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan, the third child of Arthur Harold Rue (1902-1973) and Opal Avarilla Brooks Rue (1909-1978). Arthur Rue was a machinist in Ford assembly plants, as well as Hupp Motor Co. Deaf since his early twenties, Arthur Rue was an avid reader and dealt in used books most of his adult life; starting with a used bookstore that he and his wife operated in Detroit, continuing as a part-time avocation through the end of his life. Opal Brooks Rue was a licensed practical nurse who cared for developmentally disabled children and adolescents at Plymouth State Home, and an antique doll collector. Older siblings were Jacqueline Rue, who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1929 during her first year of life, and William Arthur Rue (1930-2004) born in Cleveland, Ohio. Younger siblings (living, as of April 2005) include Robert Nelson Rue (http://drbobrue.com) and James Alphus Rue (http://www.caltrainer.com) both born in Detroit.
Raised Protestant, he was baptized on April 18, 1943 a Presbyterian, in Detroit, Michigan. Through his teen and young adult years, Bud worked with younger campers as a counselor and administrator at Clear Lake Camp, operated by Fort Street Presbyterian Church (http://www.fortstreet.org). With his father's encouragement, Bud was active in the Boy_Scouts_of_America and earned the rank of Eagle_Scout. The Rue family spent most of Bud's formative years living on a one-acre parcel at 11011 Hubbell Road, Livonia,_Michigan which, at the time they moved there was still semi-rural. The house and barn were constructed by Arthur and Opal Rue with some assistance from their sons. The family was of limited financial means. Bud played football in high school and graduated in 1953 from George N. Bentley High School in Livonia. He dislocated an elbow during a school football game, the imperfect healing of which led to the rejection a few years later of his application to attend the United_States_Naval_Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.
After the disappointment of being turned away from Annapolis, Bud enrolled at Michigan State University where he studied mathematics and education. When funds ran short, he decided to enlist in the United_States_Navy and signed up for the Submarine Corps. Bud recalled in later years that when he told his father of this decision, it was the first time in his life that he had seen his father cry. His father, Bud said, had wanted him to graduate from college and he feared that his decision to enlist would stand in the way. After training in New_London,_Connecticut, where he earned his Dolphins (Submarine_Warfare_insignia) before being assigned to work as an Electrician's Mate on one of the last diesel-powered subs, the USS_Trout_(SS-566), attached to Submarine Squadron (SubRon) 10 based in New London. Bud would eventually grow to regret his decision to enter the Navy, he said in later years, with the resulting feelings of isolation and loneliness that accompany life at sea, but he completed his contracted term of service because there seemed to be no other way out.
On September 8, 1956, Bud married Bernette Ann Woldin, whom he met at Michigan State and daughter of Samuel Irving Woldin and Mary Veronica Cruise Woldin. Their first date was a Stan_Kenton concert at M.S.U., featuring a jazz musician popular in the 1950s. The wedding took place in Ann's home town of Bound_Brook, New_Jersey, with the reception held in the Woldin family's back yard. Bud, who was still in the Navy, wore a borrowed suit to the wedding. Bud chose John C. Plotz, a ship-mate from the Trout who remained a lifelong friend, as his best man. The couple formally made their home in an apartment on Grove Street in New London, where Ann majored in zoology at Connecticut_College, hoping to one day be a veterinarian (though she later changed this goal to education), and Bud spent months at a time at sea. Shortly after his discharge, a son named Thomas Scott Rue (http://tomrue.net) was born on October 27, 1958 in Plainfield_New_Jersey, near Ann's home town. Although Bud was no longer in the service and was a college student once again by the time his first child was born, "U.S._Navy" appeared on the child's birth certificate as the father's occupation.
In the winter of 1959, honorable discharge in hand, with assistance from the G.I. Bill of Rights, Bud received the financial assistance that allowed him to return to Lansing_Michigan to complete his higher education. While living in a trailer park in East Lansing, a second son, David Lawrence Rue, was born on January 24, 1960 in Sparrow Hospital. Later that year, on December 12, 1960 Bud received his B.A. degree in education from Michigan State and the family moved east where Bud accepted a job teaching at Adamsville Elementary School in Bernards_Township,_New_Jersey. Nearly immediately, Bud matriculated in the School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New_Jersey where he received his Masters degree in education on June 5, 1963.
The couple purchased a small house in near colonial era town of New Market called Piscataway in Middlesex_County,_New_Jersey and two more children were born, John Douglas Rue on December 20, 1963 and Ella Marie Rue on April 19, 1965 in Plainfield. In 1968, Bud applied for, but did not receive, a teaching job in East Africa. In connection with this application, he wrote an autobiographical statement (http://tomrue.net/budrue/memorial/1968.htm) oulining what he viewed as the formative events of his life to that point. (This text was supplemented a second statement (http://tomrue.net/budrue/memorial/1969.htm), written the next year more for self-reflection than for a job application.)
During the next few years, Bud was a prolific writer of poetry and prose, though little of it was ever published. In the course of attending encounter group workshops and t-groups, he began a process of self-examination which led him to reassess core values, including some which affected both educational parenting philosophies. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Bud turned from cultural conservatism to a more open willingness to explore new approaches to child-rearing and teaching that respected children as capable of making decisions and choices that had traditionally been made for them by parents, institutions, and society. In later years, he said that he felt he went too much of an extreme with experimental ideas during this period and be returned to a more conventional style of pedagogy. One thing that remained constant throughout his teaching career, however, was Bud's commitment to labor unions for teachers. He was active in union politics in most districts that employed him. He particularly enjoyed serving on salary negotiation committees.
Emphasizing his alliance with fellow teachers, in a letter dated December 31, 1967, Bud wrote to the superintendent of Bernanrds Township Public School District, "Many people have put much labor into the building of an effective mechanism to represent meaningfully the views of the teachers in Bernands Twp. I believe this mechanism has proven its worth and will prove its worth over and over again in the future. Teachers must and will be heard. They not only will be heard but action will be taken on the basis of their combined voices. We are at last speaking out -- not to each other in the faculty rooms but speaking out where it counts, to administrators, to the Board of Education and even to the public at large."
Educational Philosophy and Activities.
In late 1969 and early 1970, while the Rue family was living in Montclair,_New_Jersey, Bud and a few other high school teachers acted on what was a shared educational philosophy in which personal freedom and self-government were given high priority for students, and founded Innisfree Corporation (http://innisfree1970.tripod.com) with the intent of operating a free school. Incorporated under the nonprofit laws of the State of New Jersey, the Innisfree group purchased a 13-acre parcel of land with several buildings in Milanville, Pennsylvania, overlooking the Skinners Falls rapids of the Upper Delaware river. Innisfree's charter board of trustees included Clyde B. Rue (president), P. Clarke Maylone (vice-president), Bernette Ann Rue (secretary), William W. Brown, Jr., Gail Wilson Brown, Joni Maylone, Sanford Bluestein, M.D., and Peter Malcolm - all of Montclair, New Jersey. More than a hundred people, mostly with some connection to Montclair High School (students, teachers, parents) took part in the founding of Innisfree.
Innisfree operated on principles of consensus and self-determination for the summers of 1970 and 1971 as a summer camp on free school principles modeled after those charted by educator A._S._Neill at Summerhill_School in Leister, England. Bud recalled the details of this experimental educational project in a paper that he wrote as part of post-graduate studies a few years later entitled "Innisfree: An experience in deviance" (http://innisfree1970.tripod.com/freeschool.htm).
Continuing his career as a math teacher in Princeton_New_Jersey, South_Brunswick_New_Jersey, and Lawrence_Township,_New_Jersey, Bud was certified to teach math and social studies in New Jersey and New York public schools at all grade levels, K-12, as well as in school_counseling and school_administration. He was also an associate examiner for Educational Testing Service and wrote items for the Scholastic Aptitude Test and others standardized academic testing instruments full time for a few years in the late 1970s and continued this work as a consultant to E.T.S. part-time after returning to the classroom.
During the late 1970s and well into the 1980s, Bud supervised groups of junior high and high school students at Innisfree, for stays ranging from weekend outdoor_activity retreats to summer-long educational "minimum basic skills" remedial tutoring. Although these programs involved more traditional approaches to formal learning than the self-governance emphasis of the first summers at Innisfree, Bud's approach to teaching continued to emphasize personal choice and experiential learning, sometimes utilizing lessons from natural world or practical exercises to augment cognitive instruction.
When Bud retired from teaching in 1988 he and Ann sold their residence in Lawrenceville, New Jersey made their home at Innisfree. For the remaining five years of his life, Bud devoted full time to charitable activities in Wayne_County,_Pennsylvania which he believed would benefit the local community and larger society. He led an initiative to start the formation of a local affiliate chapter of Habitat for Humanity International (http://habitat.org) which to this day (April 2005) remains active in the creation of decent, affordable housing for people in need. He helped form a chapter of Amnesty_International in the Upper Delaware_River Valley, which held its initial meetings at Innisfree. During the same period he served as a founding board member of The River School, a parent-run Montessori elementary school that was also housed at Innisfree. A charter member of the Upper Delaware Unitarian Fellowship (http://members.aol.com/tcvogler/UDUF/) (founded in 1986), as a member of that congregation's social justice committee. During the summer of 1993 Bud proposed the idea of holding a fund-raising activity to benefit local organizations.
On October 23, 1993, the fund-raising walk-a-thon which Bud took the lead in organizing commenced in Narrowsburg, Sullivan_County,_New_York, with about 25 walkers proceeding down River Road in Damascus_Township,_Pennsylvania with Innisfree as their destination. Pledges collected were designated to benefit (Wayne County (http://rileycorners.com/habitat/), Interfaith Outreach United of Callicoon, New York, the Delaware Highlands Land Trust (http://delawarehighlands.org), Victim's Intervention Program (a domestic_violence counseling service in Honesdale, Pennsylvania), and the Unitarian_Universalist_Service_Committee of Boston.
Less than a mile into the walk, Bud mentioned to another walker that his leg felt sore. He sat down on a boulder to await a ride from a sweep car driving back and forth to pass out water and pick up any participants who felt unable to finish the walk. The the driver, Rev. Ray Pontier, minister of the Unitarian fellowship, said Bud used his inhaler several times and then appeared to fall asleep. When the car arrived at Innisfree Bud was not breathing. An ambulance was called, but emergency medical technicians were unable to revivie him. He evidently died of a cardiac arrest and hypertension, and asthma. A memorial service attended by several hundred people filled the Milanville Methodist-Episcopal Church to overflowing as friends and family recalled the actions and beliefs around which Bud had built his life. Speaking to a reporter, a friend commented that "Bud died as he lived, walking his last steps for social justice."
In December, Bud's cremated remains were spread in a wide circle around the base of a tree on the Innisfree hill in a private family ceremony. A memorial slate marks the spot the inscription: "Clyde B. 'Bud' Rue | husband, father, friend | August 2, 1934 - October 24, 1993 | 'We're here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is.'"
Innisfree did not long survive Bud's death. In 1993, the board of trustees consisted of Bud Rue (president), Ann Rue (vice-president), Thomas Rue (secretary), Carmen Hernandez Rue, David Rue, John Rue, Ella Rue-Eyet, Robert Woldin, John H. Prickett, and Carol C. Prickett, resolved to suspend operations. Shortly thereafter, the Milanville property was sold. But the ripples which eminated from Innisfree and Rue's other activities endure.
Bud's memorial stone remains where it was left on the hill overlooking the Upper Delaware valley.