10/13/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/13/2020 11:16
John was a wonderful friend and a remarkable man, full of kindness, humor and warmth. He was deeply dedicated to his family and had an enthusiasm for supporting his local and global community. John was an undeniably great artist, a marvelous storyteller and always a teacher. We will always be most captivated by the person he was.
John's daughter Ricki said of him, 'My father was a gentleman, a patriot and a friend to everyone he met. To our family, he was a proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather.'
Ruthven was just 10 years old when he donated his first specimen to CMC - a hummingbird. It was the first of many. Over the next 86 years, Ruthven helped bring thousands of specimens into CMC's collections, building a rich and robust natural catalog by which scientists and historians can learn more about our region and the natural and wild spaces around the globe.
CMC's collections served as a great resource for Ruthven as he used the ornithology and zoology collections as references for his paintings. He, in turn, encouraged a greater emphasis for the museum to engage in scientific research, contributing its own findings to the scientific community. He joined museum-organized scientific expeditions to the Philippines, Arkansas and Florida searching for species believed to be extinct.
Emeritus director of the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and longtime friend of Ruthven described him this way: 'John was a wonderful artist, prolific and innovative, and a great natural historian. He was an explorer, a foot-slogging explorer, who loved wild places, the rare and unusual.'
CMC honored Ruthven in 2019 with the inaugural John A. Ruthven Medal of Distinction. The medal is inspired by Ruthven's lifetime of exploration, preservation and advocacy and will be awarded to individuals who contribute to the fields of natural history and science and also to CMC's collections and research programs. Part of the criteria for the award is that its recipients further the preservation, research and advocacy of natural history in the Greater Cincinnati area. The medal is one way CMC is carrying Ruthven's legacy into the future.