William  "Bill"  Rutan
  • Essex Veterans Memorial Hall, Inc.
    P.O. Box 142
    Centerbrook, CT 06409

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 Ashleigh's Garden <br>23 Main Street <br>Centerbrook, CT 06409 <br>(860) 767-2889


Memories & Candles

“Proud to have known him for many years,A real Icon of the sport,from the early days of the Pa.Hillclimb Circuit where I cant recall him ever not...Read More »
1 of 21 | Posted by: Bob Kilpatrick - friend

“Bill will be missed by all who have had the pleasure of his knowledge and wisdom throughout the years.Deepest sympathy to his family.Past Commodore...Read More »
2 of 21 | Posted by: Bill Felleman - Friend

“I am so sorry to learn of the seemingly sudden passing of Bill. I live near the Pettipaug Yacht Club and I would often run into Bill walking his dog....Read More »
3 of 21 | Posted by: George Mayer - Essex, CT

“RIP Mr. Rutan. races will not be the same. we always looked forward to a visit and help with our Lester MG. his knowledge was wide and advice...Read More »
4 of 21 | Posted by: tom mccormack - troy, NY - Friend

“I remember Bill for his walks down at the boat club and the trips to Berk Mountain, Vt. . My condolences to Carole, Danny and all the family.Debby...Read More »
5 of 21 | Posted by: Philip Hamilton - Deep River, CT

“I will miss my chats with Bill during the summer months when he would walk Tag across my lower lot on his way to remember his veteran friends and...Read More »
6 of 21 | Posted by: Bill and Pam carlson - essex, CT

“Bill was such a unique character. He was warm, feisty, funny, extremely talented who didn't suffer fools gladly. We were so privileged to have...Read More »
7 of 21 | Posted by: Parker & Diana Lord - Hadlyme, CT

“A Leader, Wit And True Friend . ”
8 of 21 | Posted by: Bill Wright - Leicester, VT

“A Leader, Wit, And True Friend. ”
9 of 21 | Posted by: Bill Wright - Leicester, VT


10 of 21 | Posted by: Bill Wright - Leicester, VT

“RIP Bill condolences to your family ”
11 of 21 | Posted by: Lambrecht family - Old Saybrook

“Our sympathy to the Rutan family. Bill is a Hillclimb legend we learned about when we ran the hills in PA. ”
12 of 21 | Posted by: Paul Krysiak Kathy Barnes - CT

“It was always great to have the three generations at the hill climbs. We miss Danny & Deb and the kids.... ”
13 of 21 | Posted by: Kelly Gale - Webster, NH - Friend

“God Speed, Bill. Your many accomplishments and innovations have inspired many racers in many arenas. I remain honored that you shared some of your...Read More »
14 of 21 | Posted by: Tim Healey - West Hartford, CT

“A truly unique and brilliant man. I'm proud to say I've known him. ”
15 of 21 | Posted by: John (Michelle) Reed - Claremont, NH

“RIP my friend ”
16 of 21 | Posted by: ronald moreck - forty fort, PA

“Carole and Rutan family, saddened to hear of Bills death. Keep all your memories in your heart. He was a nice person and always had a word or two to...Read More »
17 of 21 | Posted by: Agnes Waterman - Ivoryton, CT

“RIP Bill, you were an amazing racer. So many accomplishments. Godspeed.... ”
18 of 21 | Posted by: Trish Pellegrino - Concord, NH

“Dan,Rebecca and family I am so sorry for your loss , I will always remember all the fun we had as kids driving Bill nuts with motorcycles, cars...Read More »
19 of 21 | Posted by: Brian Varney - Bulls Gap, TN

“Uncle Bill picked me up (off the ground) when he saw me. I smiled every time I remembered it over the years, and I will never forget it as it is now...Read More »
20 of 21 | Posted by: Van Petite - Chicago, IL

“Dan, Rebecca, and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Used to have a lot of fun with Bill when he would come into Ted's/Debbie's Restaurant. He...Read More »
21 of 21 | Posted by: Leslie Bump - Annapolis, MD


William "Bill" Rutan, age 86, of Centerbrook CT, passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness on Wednesday April 4, 2018 at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He was born on May 5, 1931 in Middletown, CT the son of the late Charles William Rutan and Hazel (Tiley) Rutan. He leaves behind his longtime companion Carole Schmitt of Centerbrook CT and their faithful dog 'Tag'; his son Daniel William Rutan and wife Deborah (Strain) Rutan, of Deep River CT, and his daughter Rebecca Rutan Filkowski and husband Eric Filkowski, of Waterbury Center VT; grandchildren Cole Rutan, McLaine Rutan, Taylor Burdett, Ethan Burdett, Emma Filkowski, and Meagan Filkowski, and Carole's granddaughter Grace Anniskett; his former wife and dear friend Deirdre ( Wilson) Rutan of Essex CT, and his sister Nancy (Rutan) Meitzler of Norwich CT. He also leaves many nieces, nephews, and extended family members. He was predeceased by his brother Charles Tiley Rutan of Chester CT. Bill was a lifelong resident of Essex CT and graduated from Pratt High School. Bill was a proud veteran of the United States Army having served his country during the Korean War. He was self-employed with several businesses through the years, but his passion was amateur car racing. He built racing cars and engines for himself and many others, belonged to the SCCA and VSCCA, ran hill climbs, endurance races, and road courses. His racing career spanned over 60 years. He won many races, including 2 championships at Daytona and Riverside, and set many hill climbing records. Many will remember "The Bathtub", a Volkswagen which he outfitted with a Porsche engine and captured the record to the top of Mt Washington which he held for several years. He was also a longtime member of the Essex Boat Club where he enjoyed gathering with others for friendly debate and comradery, and where he also enjoyed its beauty and serenity overlooking the Connecticut River through the years with his many 4-legged friends. A graveside service will be held at 10:00 AM on Sunday April 15, 2018 at Fountain Hill Cemetery, 57 High St, Deep River CT 06417. His family appreciates all of the support and kind words shown. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Essex Veteran's Memorial Hall, Inc. PO Box 142, Centerbrook CT 06409. To share a memory of Bill or send a condolence to his family please visit www.rwwfh.com