Kenneth Rutley: 1930-1997

Ken Rutley

Wellington C. Mepham High School
1955-1966; 1979-1989

Ken Rutley, former teacher and principal at Mepham passed away on June 9, 1997 in Albany. Family, friends, and colleagues joined together in tribute to him at services held at O'Shea Funeral Home in Wantagh on June 12. He is survived by wife Audrey; children Lynn and Michael Ackerman, Doug and Barbara Rutley, Glenn and Lisa Rutley and Steven and Laura Rutley; and three grandchildren.


After a two-year tour of duty in the United States Army, Ken, a graduate of SUNY Albany, came to Mepham in 1955 as a teacher of Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry. He recalled in a 1989 statement that "several college friends were working in Bellmore-Merrick." He paid a visit and was as impressed with Mepham as Principal Calhoun was with him. He began his teaching career admirably, with seven students scoring 100 on the first Regents exam he taught. Within a short period of time, he became actively involved in extra-curricular activities, namely: advisor to the Class of 1957, coach of the varsity bowling team and coach of the junior varsity baseball team.

In 1964 he was appointed Assistant to the Principal and continued in this position until 1966 when he was transferred to the new J. F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore as Assistant Principal.

His outstanding administrative leadership and service to the district lead to his appointment as Principal of Mepham in 1979. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1989.

Exerpts from a eulogy presented on June 12:

"Ken Rutley was a man who did it all in his lifetime, and if given the opportunity, he probably would have done little, if anything, differently.

What he did was done with enthusiasm. I will remember him for his:

  • spontaneous sense of humor, interest in travel, music (especially jazz), bridge, and bowling.

  • being an avid golfer, gardener, and bargain hunter (flea markets, garage sales, and outlet malls.)

  • do-it-yourself handyman projects

  • community service and numerous friends on Long Island, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

  • zealous enjoyment in patronizing restaurants (he was never served a meal that he didn't enjoy).

  • but especially his pride in his family; his job; in the accomplishments of his students; our American flag, which draped his coffin; his tour of duty with the Army; and finally the physical changes in Mepham, which he initiated. For example, the re-creation of the baseball diamond in a position closer to the building; plaques placed upon the gymnasium wall in recognition of divisional and sectional championship athletic teams; corridor student display cases; the Alumni Who's Who plaque displayed in the Rotunda; and the creation and furnishing of the school conference room on the first floor, east corridor.

Ken was a man of strong opinions, which he freely expressed, and this openness and honesty was appreciated by staff, students and friends.

Goodbye, good buddy. You made the path of life for your friends a most pleasant road to travel with you."

Walter Johnson,'45
Former Teacher/Administrator

Reprinted from Scuttlebutt, July 1997