Rutland, Ransom

Rutland, Ransom

R. E. (Gene) Rutland, 94, was born in Zebulon, GA, the son of Ransom Eugene and Leila Cotton Rutland.  The family moved to Florida when Gene was in third grade. Gene was an Eagle Scout and a WWII US Army Veteran. He attended the University of Chicago and was a graduate of Emory University and Candler school of Theology. He met Martha Jane Brown of Lake City, Fla. at the Methodist Youth Camp when she was 16 and he was 18 and the most handsome lifeguard on camp staff.  They celebrated 70 years of marriage September 3, 2017.  Gene was a United Methodist minister, as were his father and brother, the late Walter Blake Rutland. He served churches in Atlanta, GA, and in Florida at Ruskin, Groveland, Lakeland, Tallahassee, Leesburg, Clearwater, St Petersburg, and Winter Haven. He was passionate for ministry focused around children, youth, and family life.  He wrote and taught the Bible module for the Christian Faith and Human Sexuality program held at the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp for many years.  Gene served as Chair of the Board of Ministry of the Florida Conference and chaplain to the Florida Cabinet under Governor Farris Bryant.  He was a strong proponent  of social justice and a leader in the ongoing struggle for civil rights.  Those who knew him best will remember his ready welcome, his sense of humor, and, of course, his love of dogs.  Martha Jane and Gene invited a student from South Africa, Dumisani Sikhakhane, to live with them while he attended college.  He has continued to be apart of the family for the last 40 years.  Gene volunteered with Meals on Wheels, prison ministries, and computer services for people in rural NC.  After 41 years of ministry, Gene and Martha Jane retired in 1988 to New Smyrna Beach and Clyde, NC.  Gene had a special relationship with grandson Randy, helping him to live a life full of joy and activities despite Randy’s challenges as a CP quadriplegic. Gene is survived by his wife of 70 years, Martha Jane, three children, Martha Rutland (John Wallis), Becky Rutland (Bobo Brown), and Randy Casey-Rutland (Helen Casey-Rutland), eight grandchildren, Wesley (Natalie), Robert (Grace), Randy, Andy (Ann), Mike (Carol), Elizabeth, Robert, and Carter and six great-grandchildren, Lucca, Sienna, Robert, Isabel, Callahan, and Weston.  A Memorial Service will be at Coronado Community UMC in New Smyrna Beach on Friday, Jan. 12, at 11am.  Following the model of his parents and his lifelong practice of generously giving of himself to benefit others, Gene donated his body to science.  Memorial gifts may be to the Rutland Missions Scholarship Fund of Coronado Community United Methodist Church or to Florida Justice for Our Neighbors, P.O. Box 160538, Miami, FL 33116

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