Vermont State Police have positively identified the body pulled out of Lake Champlain last week as photographer George Ruhe. The Wethersfield resident, who also had a home in Brattleboro, Vermont had been missing since last Wednesday.
Crews from U.S. Coast Guard found Ruhe's body in Lake Champlain last Thursday near where his sailboat is moored in Charlotte, Vermont. An autopsy revealed over the weekend Ruhe died of an accidental drowning.
George Ruhe was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1951. According to his sister, Wethersfield resident Barbara Ruhe, George became immersed in photography while studying English at Valparaiso University in the 1970s.
“He was a hippie,” Barbara Ruhe said of her brother. “He had a really good artistic eye, and he took phenomenal photographs.”
Barbara Ruhe said his fine art photography reflected his adventurous spirit, and his compassion for all people.
“He lived out in Seattle for a while and he took a whole series of pictures of street people, and homeless people, and volunteered at the homeless shelter and did some graphic design for them,” said Ruhe. “I think what interested him in his subjects had to do with political activism and people - interesting people.”
George Ruhe was a freelance photojournalist for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and the Hartford Courant. His latest venture was developing programs for the Brattleboro based In-Sight Photography Project, which empowers young people through teaching them photography skills.
Ruhe was 67.