RIPLEY, W.Va. — One of the top promoters of Ripley, the director of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, Mike Ruben has died.
Ruben died suddenly Monday morning at the age of 64.
Many in the community mourned his death and spoke about Ruben’s impact on talk radio Tuesday morning.
Former Jackson County Clerk Jeff Waybright said on MetroNews affiliate WMOV Radio he and Ruben went to Marshall University together. He and other friends would refer to him as “Rubes.”
“I really don’t know how to put it into words,” Waybright said. “We have so many memories of Rubes from driving to ball games, from announcing our games through high school and the PA. He impacted so many lives — our lives and our children’s lives.”
Ruben was very active in the community and announced games at Ripley High School.
“I’ll never forget the first time as a sophomore running on to the basketball court and hearing him say ‘let’s bring on the Vikings!’ There was just something about that that made you feel 10 feet tall and like you could jump out of the gym. He set the tone for a lot of athletes and a lot of kids,” Waybright said.
Tom Hunter with AARP West Virginia worked closely with Ruben throughout the years. He said Ruben promoted everything about Ripley including its history.
“The among to work that he did around the CVB, not only promoting events in the city proper, but he had a huge role in the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair and helping with the publicity for that for a number of years,” Hunter said.
Ruben helped the CVB get on its feet in the early years. Hunter said Ruben was at the table for every important discussion.
“He was always there. It didn’t matter what was going on. If it was for the betterment of the city and to improve quality of life in the city of Ripley, Mike was the first one there,” he said.
Hunter called Ruben a “champion” for Ripley.
“Every community has that champion. There is no bigger champion then Mike Ruben for our community that I’ve ever seen. His heart for that community was everything and that’s going to be the biggest loss,” he said.