Dr. Jerry Lynn Ruth, 62, passed away in late July. He was born on May 18, 1951 at the Ashland Hospital and had a tremendous love for all things motorcycle. He also had an acute fondness for mud, dirt, slapstick comedy, Chevy Chase, molecular biology, girls, & Brendan Fraser movies. His favorite place on earth was at Burnt Creek near the top of Dead Indian in Ashland, Ore.
Jerry was a pioneer in oligonucleotides and DNA synthesis. One of his more than 25 notable inventions was the fluorescent dye used to map DNA. Because of his scientific knowledge, he hated all forensic and reality TV shows but really appreciated a good Packers game or comedy. He spent quite a lot of time in the woods with Carol on motorcycle camping trips. Jerry was a terrific scientist and an awesome Dad. He taught his daughters how to be tough and do "man stuff" so they could take care of themselves. (It worked.) From soccer coach to Girl Scout leader to tracking guide, there was never a dull moment.
After graduating from Ashland High in 1969, Jerry studied at Southern Oregon University, and the University of California at Davis, where he received his Ph.D in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. In 1978, he became head of the nucleoside & nucleotide synthesis group at Calbiochem Behring. With the Presidential Young Investigator's Award in 1980, he was put on as a staff Scientist at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Medicine. He taught graduate level classes in Pharmacology before starting as a lab scientist at Molecular Biosystems, Inc. a startup company in San Diego. After four years, he had worked his way up to VP of Research & Development as the sole inventor of the company’s core intellectual property.
The opportunity to return home to Oregon came up in 1991 and Dr. Ruth spent the next 11 years at the US Fish and Wildlife Service Forensic lab as the Technical Lead DNA Analyst. He helped to bring poachers to justice from behind the microscope. In 2002, he relocated to Cheshire, Oregon to take over as the Director of Genomics and Proteomics at Invitrogen/Molecular Probes. In 2008, he moved to Novato, California to be the Director of R&D at Biosearch Technologies. In lasting memory of Jerry, they will respectfully name the new R&D Library in Petaluma after him as “The Jerry Ruth Library”.
n addition to his day job, Jerry acted as an international expert patent witness over 1,200 times and could hold his own in Japanese, Italian, Spanish, German, & (usually) English. He was appreciated most for his quick wit & dry sense of humor and will be sorely missed.
Jerry was preceded in death by both of his parents, Larry & Fern Ruth, of Southern Oregon. He is survived by his wife Carol Lee Ruth of San Anselmo, California; daughters, Cortni Lynne Ruth of Talkeetna, Alaska and Miranda Marie Hennan of Corvallis, Oregon; his sister Crystal Dunniway of Boulder Creek, California; brother, Dale Ruth of Gold Hill, Oregon; and grandchildren, Benjamin, Abby, & Charlie Hennan.
f you would like to contact the family, leave a message, or share a memory with fellow friends, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. "Go ahead. Make my DNA."