Cover photo for Harold Ruark's Obituary
Harold Ruark Profile Photo

Harold Ruark

February 17, 1922 — March 18, 2015

Harold Ruark

Harold Ruark, 93, of Cambridge, Maryland, passed away on Wednesday March 18, 2015 at his home in Salisbury, Maryland, surrounded by his family. Born in Hudson, Maryland, on February 17, 1922, Harold was the son of Roscoe and Edna Ruark. During his life, Harold was a devoted member of Beckwith United Methodist Church, and later, Grace United Methodist Church, both in the Cambridge area.

Harold grew up in the waterfront village of Hudson, working on the water and helping the family in the boatbuilding business, until he left home in 1942 to join the war effort. Harold served in the European theatre during World War II.

After the war, Harold returned home and worked for several years with Jim Richardson, at Mr. Jim’s boatyard in the Neck District area of Dorchester County. Harold spent his entire life designing and building everything from custom furniture, to boats, to model aircraft; all with the precision and perfection of the master craftsman he was.

Harold designed and built many of the hydroplanes that raced on the American Power Boat Association circuit. His boats won numerous national championships and set records in each of the decades from 1960s to the 1980s.

Harold also was a museum quality modeler, who was chosen to do work for the Smithsonian Institute. Harold’s models can be found in museums around the country including the Smithsonian. Many of Harold’s models of Chesapeake Bay ships and work boats can be seen at museums across the Eastern Shore.

Through his association with the Smithsonian, Harold was selected to build model aircraft for the FAA, for testing purposes. He later built a scale model of the Wright Brothers “Flyer” that was displayed during the reenactment of the original Wright Brothers Flight, at the centennial celebration of that accomplishment at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 2003. The model is currently on display at the Wright Brothers National Memorial Museum.

When it was decided to build a skipjack to serve as ambassador for the maritime history of the Eastern Shore, Harold was selected to design and help supervise the committee of volunteers who constructed the boat. The “Nathan of Dorchester” can be seen docked and displayed now at Long Wharf in Cambridge.

Later in life, Harold was recruited to mentor the staff of the Richardson Maritime Museum in their boat building and boatworks efforts. Eventually a new building was built and dedicated in his honor. The purpose of the Ruark Boatworks is to not only restore and rebuild old historic bay watercraft, but also to serve as a learning and education facility to teach young people the art of boatbuilding.

Harold is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Eleanor Ruark, and their three adoring children, Thomas Harold Ruark and his wife Suzanne, Connie Lynn Ruark and her partner Claudia Nagle, of Salisbury, Maryland and James Marshall Ruark and his wife Eileen of Ocean City, Maryland. He is survived by five grandchildren, Kimberly Mihaly and her husband Eric Mihaly, Mindy Myrick and her husband Lawton Myrick, Michael Ruark, Stacey Ruark and Kaye Nagle-Wood, and three great grandchildren, all who know him as Pop Pop. Pop Pop was beloved by all.

A funeral service will be held for Harold on Monday March 23, 2015 at 1:00 at Grace United Methodist Church 501 Race Street, Cambridge, Maryland. Visitation for family and friends will begin at 11:00.
Officiating the service will be Pastor Christina Blake and Rev. Doug Ridley.

Interment will follow at Dorchester Memorial Park with military honors.

Serving as pallbearers will be members of the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to Ruark Boatworks, C/O Richardson Maritime Museum, 401 High Street, Cambridge, Maryland 21613.

Arrangements entrusted to Newcomb and Collins Funeral Home, P.A.
To share memories and send online condolences please visit


11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. ,Monday, March 23, 2015
Grace United Methodist Church
501 Race St. Cambridge, MD 21613

Funeral Service

1:00 p.m. ,Monday, March 23, 2015
Grace United Methodist Church
501 Race St. Cambridge, MD 21613


2:15 p.m. ,Monday, March 23, 2015
Dorchester Memorial Park
5391 Aireys Road Cambridge, MD 21613
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