April 4, 1925 – Nov. 9, 2019
Resident of Bonny Doon
Kenneth Andrew Ruddock passed away peacefully Nov. 9 at age 94 in San Bruno.
A Silicon Valley pioneer, Ken joined Varian Associates in Palo Alto in 1957. In 1961 he co-founded Spectra-Physics, Inc., which grew to be the world’s largest maker of gas lasers. These compact lasers played an important role in surveying instruments and in cash register based bar-code readers. One of Ken’s inventions, the Geodolite laser range finder, was exhibited at the Smithsonian. He held several executive positions at Spectra-Physics, included VP of manufacturing, until retiring in 1985.
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, Ken served in the Canadian Army in Europe in WW II, and was educated in electrical engineering at University of Toronto (BS) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MS).
In retirement, Ken lived in Pescadero and Bonny Doon on the California coast, and among his childhood lakes in Nova Scotia. Ken’s lifelong passions included amateur radio (he took #1 in several worldwide “ham radio” contest from his Pescadero station), and camping and backpacking in Yosemite and the High Sierra. He guided his children on their first Sierra backpack trip at ages 10, 8 and 6. He loved fly-fishing in the Sierra and in Canada, and he loved to golf in Half Moon Bay. And he faithfully followed the San Jose Sharks and held Stanford football season tickets for many years.
He is preceded in death by Kay, his wife of 43 years, his second wife, Barbara, and his brothers Francis and Bob. He is survived by his three children, Steve, Jeff and Cindy, and grandchildren John and Will. The family will hold private services.