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DAA: Lawrence R. Rueff

Lawrence R. Rueff

Greensburg, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2001

When Larry Rueff walks a famous Civil War battlefield, he traverses more than landscape. Rather, the self-described history buff sees stories unfolding - tales only Gettysburg or Chickamauga can tell. “These soldiers were people just like us,” says Rueff, whose Civil War study spans 15 years. “They were just caught up in a very tragic situation at an amazing time in United States history.” Rueff collects old photographs and newspaper articles about the Civil War as well. “It’s intriguing to chronicle the country’s transition,” he says. Rueff’s mother, Jean, an 83-year-old former schoolteacher, first opened his eyes to history. “Mom always said people made history boring by taking the story out of it,” Rueff recalls. “When you put in stories, people come alive, and it’s fascinating.” He recalls family vacations to Boston and sites such as the Old North Church and Liberty Bell. “Those trips really hooked me. Mom had a story for everything I saw.” One of her favorite tales always included a chapter on her son, the history teacher, Rueff laughs. Although his career path diverged from that foretold by his mother, he shares his mother’s love of storytelling, giving frequent presentations to the Rotary Club and other local groups. History will come alive for him again this summer, when Rueff and two friends travel to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Civil War battlefield jaunts are an annual tradition for the three, who share a passion for history. “When I visited Chickamauga in Georgia, I learned one of the battle heroes was a soldier from Greensburg,” Rueff says. “After the war, he moved south and became the mayor of Chattanooga. “Those are the stories I love to hear, and I love to tell.”