It is with immeasurable sadness and grief that we communicate the passing of Jack Howard Ruddell, a beloved son, baby brother, dear friend, and member of his treasured Ruddell and Cade extended families. Jack took his life on Sunday, November 1, 2020 at the age of 25. He brightened the lives of those who knew him with characteristic compassion, honesty, intellect, and wit.
Jack was born on December 13, 1994 in Seattle, to John and Jennifer Ruddell, joining older brothers Michael and Alexander. To his immediate and extended family, he was "Happy Jack," a nickname that befit the fluffy-haired boy who amused and endeared with his ever-present sense of wonder and affection. At five years old, Jack relocated with his family to Los Angeles, where he joined the kindergarten class at St. Paul the Apostle School in Westwood. Los Angeles quickly became home for Jack, and his childhood there was highlighted by friendships that grew in the years that followed. With openness and zeal, he pursued new interests in sports and his life-long passion for music. Jack sang with the Paulist Choristers and would continue to sing beautifully throughout his life, including with the Brown University Bear Necessities a capella group.
Like his brothers, Jack attended Loyola High School in Los Angeles, graduating in 2013. He set extraordinary standards for himself in school and in activities like club soccer and the Marina Aquatic Center rowing team, where he expanded his friendships and self-discipline. Through extraordinary determination, Jack achieved remarkable academic success while quietly managing the learning challenges associated with Tourette's Syndrome. He had a brilliant mind and made the most of his unique talents.
Jack attended college at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated magna cum laude in 2017 from the Program in Liberal Medical Education with a concentration in Economics. Having previously decided on a career in medicine, Jack continued at the Alpert Medical School at Brown, where he was a gifted student and accomplished researcher.
Throughout his time at Brown, Jack found opportunities to explore and learn in various fields of medicine. These also extended to summer-time research and projects at Alpert Medical School; the Program in Geriatric Medicine at University of Rostock, Germany; a fellowship at the UCLA Neurology research lab; and others. Jack was a co- or lead author of more than twenty medical papers. His research spanned a variety of topics, many of which Jack saw as particularly important to society, such as the public health impact of opioid dosages post-surgery. At the time of his death, Jack had completed his two United States Medical Licensing Examinations required for graduation and looked forward to a well-deserved break, including visits with his brothers and parents, before deciding on his medical specialty. His accomplishments and experiences belied his young age of 25. In recognition of having met the requirements for graduation from Alpert Medical School, Jack will be posthumously awarded his Doctorate of Medicine degree with his graduating class in the coming year.
Jack lived a full and rich life. He loved spending time with family, filled his life with music, and was diligent and sensitive in all he did. He was at his best in the company of others. Jack cared deeply about the people in his life as well as his medical patients. His genuine kindness, empathy, and care are his greatest legacy. These wonderful traits touched his family, friends, and colleagues and undoubtedly would have impacted so many lives in years to come. May God bless and hold in His arms our Happy Jack.
Donations can be made in Jack's memory to the The Warren Alpert Medical School Humanities and Ethics fund.
A primary focus of this fund is the support of the Scholarly Concentration in Medical Humanities and Ethics, which recognizes that medicine is perhaps the most humane art and science - its tasks of caring and healing focus first on the body but its goals of individual and collective well-being affect all aspects of physical, mental, and social life. Jack's passion for medicine was heavily focused on this humane element of patient wellness, in addition to the scientific.