[ skip to content ]

Associate Professor Emeritus of History, Richard "Dick" Rutyna Dies

Richard "Dick" Rutyna, an Old Dominion University Associate Professor Emeritus of history died March 17 at the age of 80.

"An excellent teacher, he was also a major innovator in curriculum. His two-semester course on American Cultural History was so good that I audited it to fill in gaps in my own educational background," said James Sweeney, University associate professor emeritus of history.

Rutyna began his career teaching history from 1961 to 1963 at Granby High School before coming to ODU. He worked in the University's history department until 1992 as an assistant, and then associate professor.

Born in San Diego, Calif., in 1937, Rutyna served in the United States Marine Corps, where he earned both bachelor's and master's degrees in history.

Rutyna was also an accomplished author of several history books.

"He wrote a history of Freemasonry in Virginia in addition to other books and articles on early Virginia history," said Sweeney. "His essay on the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom deserved a wider audience than it had."

Active in local politics, Rutyna was second congressional district chairman of the democratic party in the 1970s, and served as president of the Lake Taylor Civic League.

He is preceded in death by his parents.

Prayer and visitation will be held March 19, 2018 at Woodlawn Funeral Home from 5-7p.m.

Rutyna and his longtime companion Dee's lives will be celebrated on Tuesday, March 20 at 11 a.m. at Saint Gregory's Church: 5345 Virginia Beach Blvd. Virginia Beach, VA 23462.

Arrangements were provided by Woodlawn Funeral Home and Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church. Condolences may be left at www.woodlawngroup.com.

Site Navigation

Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

Academic Days

Picture yourself in the classroom, speak with professors in your major, and meet current students.

Upcoming Events

From sports games to concerts and lectures, join the ODU community at a variety of campus events.