Optical Lab Pioneer Don Ruden Dies at 84


Donald E. Ruden of Expert Optics passed away at his home in Naperville, Ill. on February 10th, following an illness. He was 84 years old.

Ruden began his career in 1959, working as a salesman for B&M Optical, a small lab in Joliet, Ill. He grew their sales rapidly which eventually led to them being acquired by the Milton Roy company in 1971.

Three years later, Ruden was promoted to general manager of the optical laboratory division overseeing the nine lab locations throughout the country.

In 1974 Ruden moved his family to Bradenton, Fla. since he was working out of the company’s headquarters located in the Tampa Bay area. He moved back to Joliet and founded Expert Optics in 1979, which eventually became one of the top independent optical labs in the nation. He was inducted into the Optical Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2008. Ruden served multiple terms on the board of directors of Global Optics.

He is survived by his two sons Eric (Brenda) Ruden, Greg (Anne) Ruden and his daughter Jennifer Madson. Nine grandchildren Paige, Taylor, Alec, Allison, Garrett and Leah Ruden, Cade, Ryan and Erika Madson. One brother Ron (Toni) Ruden and one sister Barbara Nurczyk. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Ruden was preceded in death by his wife Patricia (Scroggins) Ruden, sisters Norma Larson, Lois Demos and brother Bob Ruden.

Funeral services were held on February 17th. Contributions in Ruden’s name can be made to the Donald E. Ruden Scholarship Fund c/o Joliet Junior College Foundation, 1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, Ill. 60431.


Labtalk June 2020