VOSH-Illinois recently learned of the passing of one of our long time VOSH members, Dieter Ruehrmund. Dieter and his wife Joan were known and loved and appreciated by all who knew them. To learn more about Dieter, he was featured in a “Snapshot Interview” in 2021: https://voshllinois.wpenginepowered.com/snapshot-interviews-with-dedicated-voshers-4/

VOSH-Illinois and its members sends its most sincere condolences to Dieter’s family. 


Please feel free to share a memory or send condolences to his family below.

Comments 2

  1. December 21, 2023

    Sandra Bury

    I first met Dieter and his lovely wife Joan on my first mission to Ecuador with VOSH more than a few decades ago. What I remember was that Dieter brought incredible passion to the mission. He was strikingly kind and helpful with patients, was there whenever you needed him, was always punctual and ready to work, but what really stands out in my memories was his deep love of the experience. He was adventurous! He would go anywhere, climb anything, eat anything and boy could he dance! I remember him with his video camera in the front seat of the bus or van, recording every journey, and I remember my surprise when a few weeks after the mission I received my own copy of his video in the mail. He was so kind and thoughtful.

    One meets all kinds of people on a VOSH mission, but most commonly it is people with a tie to an ophthalmic profession. Dieter had no connection to eyecare, which was truly remarkable because no one worked harder during the mission. Whatever needed handling, he would handle, always working for the success of the mission and the greater good. From calming a screaming baby in his arms (which no one did better) to crowd control, Dieter was always there when needed.

    What most people don’t realize is how hard he worked on VOSH when he was not on a mission. Dieter’s unique talent was his sense of organization, and of course Joan, his secret super power. They would take all recently donated glasses home for cleaning, sorting and neutralizing. They devised a system of cleaning hundreds of glasses at once in their dishwasher. All glasses would make their way back to the warehouse ready to go. This was their ongoing project for years and years. Back and forth, more than an hour each way – for years on end. They did this quietly behind the scenes with a steadiness that ensured the success of most missions in at least the last decade. We never lacked for neutralized glasses with the two of them on task.

    I’m not sure exactly how many missions he went on, but I’m pretty sure it was well over thirty. He served for decades on our VOSH-IL Board and also on the VOSH-International Board. I can confidently say that though his efforts, tens of thousands of people had better lives, better vision and a kind impression of Americans. For those of use lucky enough to have known him, we are filled with gratitude for his friendship and his many years of selfless service. It’s hard to believe such a steady, energetic and profoundly good man is gone. He will be greatly missed.
    Dr. Sandra Bury

  2. December 21, 2023

    Natalie Venezia

    Dieter and Joan have been part of my earliest memories of VOSH. They were both so thoughtful and kind in every way and you could always be assured that any mission trip that Dieter and Joan planned would be successful. He took care of everyone – both patients and volunteers – in a respectful and caring manner.

    I was so saddened to hear of his passing but he will live on in our hearts and memories as an icon in VOSH-Illinois history. My condolences to his family.
    Natalie Venezia

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