In Memoriam

Sylvia Bogsch Rucker died peacefully at home in Los Gatos, Ca, January 6, 2023. She was born in Budapest, Hungary, February 8, 1943.

She spent her life spreading warmth, intellect, and beauty through her love, intelligence, and artwork. Her life was broad, joyous, and filled with friends. She was vibrant, vivid, vivacious.

Sylvia was born in Budapest. When she was five, she and her family escaped Hungary’s oppressive regime—crossing the border to Austria in foot. From there they made their way to Paris, where Sylvia acquired her lifelong love of the French language and French culture. And already after her first year in school there, she was at the head of her class.

When Sylvia was eleven, her family immigrated to Washington DC via ocean liner. She learned English, her fourth language, and became a true American teenager. Sylvia and her brother Henry attended the Maret School in DC, and spent a lot of time with pals in Hot Shoppes restaurants.

Sylvia attended Swarthmore College and met Rudy Rucker there. He was to be her husband for 55 years. Sylvia earned a Bachelor’s degree in French literature, and then attended the University of Pennsylvania, Wesleyan, and Rutgers, earning two Masters degrees, one in teaching, and one in French literature.

Sylvia and Rudy had three beloved children: Georgia, Rudy Jr, and Isabel. The little family lived in New Jersey, New York, Germany, Virginia—and ultimately in Los Gatos, California, where Rudy and Sylvia spent thirty-seven happy years.

Languages were one of Sylvia’s raisons d’être. She spent most of her career teaching French and English as a Second Language at Evergreen Community College in San Jose, Ca. She taught English to thousands of new immigrants and could relate to being new to a country. She said many times that she loved her career and found deep satisfaction in her work. She also expressed her love of linguistics through much reading, writing, and word-play. (She was known to some as the Great White Shark of Scrabble).

Sylvia was an amazing and loving wife. She was a wonderful mother, and overjoyed to have five grandchildren. She loved to be among family and friends, and she had a warm and generous personality. She welcomed new people with friendly questions and a smile.

She appreciated art and beauty and brought her luminous style to all she created. She painted in her early years, and later she took up quilting, creating bold works with masterful color harmonies. She spent many hours at museums with her beloved Rudy, beginning after their very first meeting, on a bus, in 1964. Together they showed this world to their children—who are all artists.

Sylvia loved travel above all else—visiting Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe, including Hungary, Scandinavia, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, France, and Italy. Beach locales also had great appeal: Tonga, Fiji, Grand Turk, Mexico, Rehoboth, Florida, the Outer Banks, and Hawaii. Over the years, Sylvia and Rudy visited nearly every state in the union.

Her chosen sports were hiking and swimming. Sylvia's parents had access to a chalet in Zermatt, and many summers were spent rambling the Alps around the Matterhorn. Indeed, one of local peaks was known in the family as Sylvia's Mountain. In California, Sylvia liked walking the hills of Los Gatos and the beaches of Santa Cruz. She had moments of glory as a synchronized swimmer at Swarthmore, and loved to swim in the ocean, Lake Geneva, and the waters of Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Her curiosity never ended, even in her final days she wanted to know the details of everyone’s lives. This special attention made everyone feel loved. Her loving, warm, beautiful spirit will be deeply missed by all.

Sylvia was preceded in death by her parents, Arpad and Pauline Bogsch. She is survived by her husband Rudy and her three children: Georgia Rucker (Courtney Lasseter), Rudy Rucker Jr. (Penelope Thomas), and Isabel Rucker (Justin Archimede). She leaves five grandchildren: Althea, Desmond, Jasper, Zimry, and Calder—and her brother Henry Bogsch and his family.

Follow this link to admire Sylvia's Quilts.