A native Cincinnatian and the ninth of 10 children, Ruehlmann was voted “Boy Mayor of Cincinnati” in 1942. He ultimately served 12 years on Cincinnati City Council beginning in 1959 and served as mayor from 1967-71.
His leadership included guiding the early transformation of downtown Cincinnati with the development of Riverfront Stadium (later named Cinergy Field), the establishment of an NFL team, the Bengals, and constructing the Dr. Albert B. Sabin Cincinnati Convention Center (now the Duke Energy Convention Center). Also, a new University Hospital and new Shriners Burns Institute (now Shriners Hospitals for Children) were built during that decade.
He led efforts to heal the city after the 1967 riots in Avondale, reaching out to African-American communities and churches. He established the Cincinnati Human Relations Committee to answer directly to the mayor, guided the Housing Coordinating Committee to rehabilitate housing and established Cincinnati’s Project Commitment to reunite the community.
Ruehlmann also served as chair of the Hamilton County Republican Party Central Committee from 1991 to 1996. In 1998, he was named a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce for his lifetime of service and leadership.
After graduating from Western Hills High School in 1943, Ruehlmann joined the U.S. Marines and served in World War II before pursuing his undergraduate degree at the University of Cincinnati. He was a member of UC’s 1946 football team which won the Sun Bowl Championship in 1947, and graduated with honors from UC with a bachelor of arts in political science. He was the recipient of the McKibbin Medal from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences in 1948. He earned his law degree from Harvard University in 1950.
Ruehlmann was founder of the Strauss, Troy and Ruehlmann law firm in 1953 and 33 years later, joined the firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, where he practiced corporate law until his retirement. He continues to remain active on a number of charitable boards in the community.
Ruehlmann is a member of the UC Athletic Hall of Fame (1995) and received the Distinguished Service Award from the UC Alumni Association in 1975.
He and his late wife, Virginia, were married for 61 years and have eight children, 25 grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.