Green Springs celebrates Bud Rutherford’s 92nd birthday

By Sheri Trusty, Seneca County Media Relations Coordinator

On May 11, the Green Springs community gathered to celebrate the 92nd birthday of one of its most beloved and respected residents, Bud Rutherford. It was fitting that the event was held in the Stemtown Historical Society Museum’s new location in the former Calvary United Methodist Church. The museum could not have moved into the building without a generous donation that Bud made in honor of his late wife, Maxine Rutherford.

Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart, right, was among the many people who attended the 92nd birthday celebration for Bud Rutherford, left, on May 11.

Bud is a lifelong Green Springs and Seneca County resident who dedicated his life to the community.

“The house I was born in is in this town, and I grew up in the home two houses south of the museum,” he said. “The church was my neighbor. I saw this church every day. I remember when they dug the cellar of the church. I used to sit and watch them work.”

Bud was active in sports at Green Springs High School, and when Bud was a senior, his coach died just a few days before Christmas. His death impacted Bud greatly and set the trajectory of his life.

“When he died, I decided I wanted to be a coach. To be a coach, I had to be a teacher,” he said.

He enrolled in Baldwin Wallace University in the Cleveland suburb of Berea and brought his passion for sports with him, but sports were soon overshadowed by another passion – Maxine.

“My wife – she was my girlfriend then – was more important than athletics. Maxine was the most important thing in my life,” Bud said.

After graduation, Bud returned to Green Springs and spent his life as an educator and coach for Green Springs and Clyde schools. He coached “everything” he said, including serving as the girls cheerleading advisor. He taught chemistry, physics and physical education and was a longtime school board member, but he is most fondly remembered as the drivers ed instructor. He taught over 4,000 students how to drive during his 37 years as a drivers ed teacher.

“I taught 175 students how to drive every year,” Bud said. “The funny thing is, when a student would make a mistake, they would think they were the first student I’d seen do that, but I’d seen it 200 times. They couldn’t believe I wasn’t upset.”

Four thousand students in a small, rural school district created a lot of connections, many of which remain today.

“I can’t go anyplace without somebody saying, ‘Do you remember me?’ Then I know I had them in drivers ed,” Bud said.

Bud Rutherford talks about the awards he received from the Ohio School Boards Association. The awards hang on a wall honoring Rutherford’s life in the Stemtown Historical Society Museum.

Bud’s commitment to the school board earned prestigious recognition. Hanging on the Stemtown Historical Society Museum’s walls are plaques honoring Bud with a membership in the Ohio School Boards Association’s All-Region School Board and All-Ohio School Board. He was honored with six Ohio School Boards Association Awards of Achievement and was named a Master Board Member.

At 92, Bud is still impacting the Green Springs community. He volunteers at the museum and recently served as a docent to a group of schoolchildren who took a field trip to the museum.

“When I was done, I knew I was 92 years old. I was worn out,” he said. “But we want groups of schoolchildren to come here to the museum.”

Seneca County Commissioner Bill Frankart was among the many people who stopped by the museum on May 11 to celebrate Bud’s birthday. Frankart was one of Bud’s physical education students.

“Bud is truly a community-minded person, considering all his many years of teaching, coaching and serving on numerous boards,” Frankart said. “His passion and leadership have not gone unnoticed. I really appreciate all that he has accomplished.”