Chatham News

In Memory: S. Murray Rust Jr., father of the Chair of Chatham’s Board of Trustees

By: Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D., President
April 6, 2010

To the Chatham Community,

Many of you know our chair of the Board, Murray Rust III. Murray’s father, S. Murray Rust Jr. passed away on April 6, 2010. Mr. Rust was a long term member of the Chatham Board, having been recruited by George Lockhart in 1959 (and served until 1980), and a distinguished leader in Pittsburgh as the accompanying draft obituary indicates. Mr. Rust was always a leader in philanthropy for Chatham, beginning with the family home on Murray Avenue, up to his establishment of Chatham’s first charitable gift annuity. The family is suggesting that Pittsburgh memorial gifts be made to Chatham.

There will be a memorial service in Pittsburgh on the 17th of April at 2 p.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church. Mr. Rust’s obituary follows.

I know you join me in sending deepest condolences to the Rust family and can send notes to Murray and Shirley at 5505 Dunmoyle Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15217.

Esther L. Barazzone

S. Murray Rust Jr. died quietly at his home in Orleans, Massachusetts on April 6, 2010 at the age of 97.

Mr. Rust led a full life as a businessman, civic leader, and most importantly as patriarch of a large and growing family of which he was most proud. He was blessed with two lengthy and happy marriages, first with Gladys Over from 1936 until her death in 1969 and then with Elinor C. Hill from 1970 until the present.

He and his twin sister, Mary Lee, were born on April 28, 1912 in Lowell Mass. The family, S. Murray Rust Sr., Mary H.C. Rust, elder daughter Alice, Mary Lee, and Murray Jr. moved to Pittsburgh in 1913 when Mr. Rust Sr. established the Pittsburgh office of the Rust Engineering Co., a firm he had founded with his two brothers. Murray Rust Jr.’s early education was at Wightman School, then subsequently at Shady Side Academy from which he graduated in 1930. He then attended Lehigh University where he earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in

Upon graduation he worked briefly for the Koppers Company as a field engineer on a construction site before joining the Rust Engineering Company in 1935. The Company under the guidance of Mr. Rust’s father was developing a growing presence in the design and construction of industrial facilities. After serving in various capacities on construction sites and in project management, he became
Assistant to the President, his father. After Mr. Rust’s father suffered a heart attack, his responsibilities increased dramatically and he became President of the firm in 1944 at the age of 32. At that time the Company was very busy building facilities needed for the war effort.

Under Mr. Rust’s leadership, the firm grew to employ over 3,000 permanent employees and many times that number of construction workers. In addition to its headquarters office in Pittsburgh, The Rust Engineering Company had a major office in Birmingham, Alabama and engineering offices in Tenn. and Montreal with affiliate offices in London and Brussels. The firm designed and built plants for a variety of industries including metallurgy, cement, tires, and food producers to name just a few. The Company also did major projects for NASA and the Atomic Energy Commission. The firm developed major expertise in the pulp and paper industry and became the largest engineer / constructor of pulp and paper mills in the country with over 160 projects to its credit.

By the mid 1960s, The Rust Engineering Company had grown to a point where its capacity was far greater than its capital base could comfortably support. A compatible “deep pockets” partner was sought. This effort ultimately led to the Company being acquired by Litton Industries in June 1967. Mr. Rust became Chairman of the Rust Engineering Company which became a Division of Litton Industries. He held this position until his retirement.

While busy directing the affairs of the Company, Mr. Rust found time to take an active role in the civic life of Pittsburgh. In the education arena he served as a Trustee of Chatham College (now Chatham University), and of his alma mater, Lehigh University. He was a Trustee and ultimately Board Chair of Shady Side Academy and also was appointed as a member of the Pittsburgh Board of Education. He was a long standing Trustee of Shady Side Hospital and was named its President in 1969. He was also a Trustee of the Pitcairn-Crabbe Foundation and the Shadyside Presbyterian Church. Always a generous philanthropist, he was a founding Trustee of the Rust Foundation, a family foundation, which now includes fourth generation Trustees and members.

In addition, he also served as a Director of Pittsburgh National Bank, The Bank of Virginia Co., Joy Manufacturing Company, Churchill Manufacturing and Southwest Forest Industries.

Despite Mr.Rust’s many professional commitments, he remained most involved with his growing family and all their many and varied activities. He kept up with the progress of all the children, grand-children and great-grandchildren. Murray always looked forward to the special times he spent with them and in hearing of their latest goals, dreams and achievements.

Mr. Rust was an avid student of both American and family history. His own family first arrived in this country in 1654. His great, great, great grandfather was Richard Henry Lee, author of the Lee Resolution and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Rust was the member of longest standing of the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh. He was also a past member of the Pittsburgh Golf Club, the Fox Chapel Golf Club, the Naples Yacht Club and the Hyannis Yacht Club.

After the death of his first wife, Gladys, he married Elinor C. Hill in Aug. 1970. The couple built a home on the Hill family property in Orleans, Massachusetts. They moved there in 1975 while maintaining a winter home in Naples, Florida which they kept until 1997.

In Orleans he continued his interest in civic affairs becoming a founding Director of the Community Foundation of Cape Cod, a Trustee and President of the Nauset Workshop(now Nauset Inc.)and a Trustee of the Orleans Conservation Trust.

Mr. Rust developed a love of sailing, and particularly sailing along the coast of Maine where his family has owned a summer home for seven generations. He also played tennis most of his life, especially in Maine, where he constructed a family tennis court which he named for his aunt, Avis Coburn Churchill. He also enjoyed travel having embarked on numerous trips to literally the four corners of the world.

Mr. Rust is survived by his wife, Elinor, his four children, Murray 111 and his wife Shirley, of Pittsburgh PA, James and his wife Jane, of Readyville TN, Molly Montgomery and her husband Donald, of Pittsburgh PA and John and his wife Peggy, of Leesburg VA , three step-children, Bruce Hill of Pittsburgh PA, Tim Hill and his wife Adora, of Woodland Park, CO. and Margot Ball and her husband Hiram, of Sewickley PA. He is also survived by fourteen grandchildren, thirteen
great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nephews and nieces and their offspring.

A memorial service followed by a reception will be held at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans at 2 PM. on April 10, 2010. A service in Pittsburgh with a reception to follow will be held on April 17,2010 at 2 PM. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 5801 Hampton St.