John Warner Ruf, age 80, of Fayette, passed away from a lifetime battling diabetes on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 at his home surrounded by his family. He was born Nov. 1, 1937 in Monroe, the son of Warner and Florence (Knouse) Ruf. On April 5, 1958 he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Nathalie Hale. They built their home, family, and business in Fayette. He proudly lived his entire life at the corners of County Roads G and F in Fayette Township.
Survivors include his wife: Nathalie at home; his children: Richard (Carol) Ruf, William (Jodi) Ruf, Mark (Lisa Paulson) Ruf, John “Duke” (Jody) Ruf, and Deana (Stu) Soper all of Darlington and Fayette area; two sisters: Betty Williams of rural Gratiot, and Rosemary Webster of Monroe; 14 grandchildren with very special nicknames: Jadin “Oscar” (Heather) Ruf, Jessica “Pickle” Saalsaa, Brandi “Whiskey” (Dustin Wepking) Ruf, Joey “Kokomo Jo” (Lydia) Ruf, Michael “Buckwheat” Ruf, Jacob “Little Jake” Ruf, Matthew “Chewy” Ruf, John Michael Lee “Ole” Ruf, Ashley “Lena” (Garrett) Debuhr, Kayla “Olga” Ruf, Kari “Maude” (Brad Lamont) Ruf, Christen “Junior” (Kristen Bechtolt) Ruf, Josh Soper, and Natty “Blondie” Soper; 11 great-grandchildren; a very special nurse: Janice Ruf; and many friends and extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents: Warner and Florence, and one brother: Dicky Ruf.
John was a member of Immanuel United Church of Christ in Darlington and the Fayette Sportsman’s Club. He founded the Tri-County ATVers and Fayette Sno-Goers. He served on many committees including the Darlington Fire Department, Rural Medical, and Tri County Trail Commission. He was also inducted into the Lafayette County Tractor Pullers Hall of Fame. He proudly served as Fayette Town Chairman for nearly 20 years and received the Grassroots Government Leadership Award from the National Association of Towns and Townships in recognition for service to his community. John’s true passions included the family business: Ruf’s Farm Service; the four-wheeler and snowmobile trails he worked so hard to open, those red Massey Harris tractors, riding around in his truck visiting farmers, trips up North to the cabin, and spending as much time as he possibly could with his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His family was his entire life.
A funeral service was held Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. at Immanuel United Church of Christ (339 E. Louisa Street, Darlington) where Rev. Barbara Brakey and Rev. Stephen Stauffacher co-officiated. Burial will be in Fayette Cemetery at a later date where John will forever look over his beloved home. A visitation was held on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017 from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the church. A visitation was also held Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. at the church. The Erickson Funeral Home in Darlington is serving the family. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.ericksonfuneralhome.com.
For those who prefer, a memorial fund has been established in John’s name.