In memory of
Lucien Ruby February 9, 1944 - April 14, 2017 Lucien Ruby died Friday, April 14, at home in San Francisco, of cancer. Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in Madisonville, Kentucky, Lucien was the only child of Clyde Ruby and Lorena Dempster Ruby. In family tradition, Lucien attended Culver Military Academy, Culver, IN for high school, where he began to satisfy his intellectual curiosity and, as a member of the Black Horse Troop, proudly rode in John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade (coldest day ever, he said). Lucien received his degree in Civil Engineering from Duke University in 1966 (after a few missteps). Following graduation, he spent an impactful year as a civil engineer in the Republic of Vietnam before illness forced him home. Not eager to continue building roads or join the family business, he decided to attend business school. But it took a while to get there: on his motorcycle journey to Columbia U, his stop-off in Washington, D.C. lasted seven years. There, he became an entrepreneur, with one failed company but a successful transformation of a little restaurant into a must-stop "saloon," the Charing Cross in Georgetown. Very cool, he said. Motivated to determine why his other start-up failed, Lucien did move on to Harvard Business School, earning his MBA in 1977 as a proud member (and apparently the central social figure) of Section F and a prop on the HBS Rugby Club. He developed many close friendships (and some nagging injuries) from his HBS and Old Boys teams. After B School, he began his long career in venture capital, first at Brentwood Associates in LA, then Continental Capital in SF, then founding his own firms (Briefcase, Quest Ventures, Quest Hospitality/Thayer) in SF. His investments ranged from the low tech to the high, many oriented toward health and wellness. Seed stage venture capital was perfect for him: he met and connected all manner of interesting people and constantly learned wide-ranging new things. Of late, he particularly enjoyed mentoring budding entrepreneurs. At 43, he married Caryl Bartelman Welborn. At almost 48, he and Caryl became parents of their only child, Cameron Helen Ruby. Their tight trio enjoyed many San Francisco city homes (through lots of crazy renovations) and "Stonetree," a self-designed retreat in the Sonoma Valley. There, his many projects included beekeeping, but his greatest joy was in entertaining an unending flow of friends. Lucien wore many hats. As a father, he was a favorite among Cameron's friends, a jokester, a Hamlin "room mother," a basketball coach, a story-teller (they were mostly true, it turns out), a mentor, a cheerleader of UHS and many other teams, and a model of support and guidance. As a husband and friend, he was a loving and loyal partner, an engaged world traveler, a consistent source of amazing facts, and a progressive. He was also a raconteur, a son of the south (but not its politics), humorous (frequently oddly so), and a wannabe spy. But most of all, Lucien was a connector of people, an equal opportunity friend, and a truly kind, generous and decent man. Of the family members who predecease Lucien, he would want to call out his famous dogs, Zella and Smith. He is survived by his wife, Caryl Welborn, his adored and adoring daughter, Cameron Ruby, and one of the widest webs of friends and 'cousins' imaginable. Donations may be made in his honor to the Lucien Ruby Fund for Youth Civic Engagement at the YMCA of SF [ https://www.ymcasf.org/lucien-ruby-fund-youth-civic-engagement ], or Culver Military Academy [ culver.org/giving "For Lucien Ruby Scholarships"], or a charitable cause about which you are passionate. We thank the multitude of friends who have extended love, support and stories. Please contact Caryl if you wish information regarding a celebration of Lucien's life, but in any case he would like it if you would raise a glass to him.
View Full Obituary ›