Roger was born May 1, 1938, in Waverly, Nebraska, to John and Lydia Ruff.
He was the eldest of two sons, his brother David being 6 years his junior. Roger graduated from Waverly High School in 1957 where he was a four-year letterman in football, basketball, band, and track. Roger was an outstanding athlete, breaking the Viking’s scoring record as fullback, and Waverly’s basketball team was a 1957 State Silver Medalist. Roger’s life-long love of Jazz stemmed from his avid trombone playing skills. During his senior year, he joined the Navy Reserves. Roger graduated from Hastings College where he played football as defensive tackle alongside famed Nebraska Cornhusker coach Tom Osborne.
There, he met the love of his life, Diane, on the steps of the college library. Roger and Diane were a spirited couple and loved to dance. While cruising around town in Roger’s ’55 Ford Crown Victoria, they were known to pull off to the side of the road to dance when a catchy tune played on the radio. On January 28, 1962, in Hastings, Nebraska they formed their union of 55 years at Zion Lutheran Church. Roger and Diane had two daughters, Christine and Cathleen.
In June,1962, Roger enlisted into Active Duty with the Navy Reserves. Roger excelled in his service to our country and rose quickly through their ranks. His promotions afforded he and his family the opportunity to experience firsthand the multitudes of culture, history and landscapes within this great country of ours. Roger loved his country and ensured that his family was exposed to its wonders and history along the way. From the grounds of the Chicago World’s Fair and Mackinac Island to the Gateway Arch; from the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park to Sequoia National Park, to name a few. His stations included NAS Olathe, Kansas; NAS Los Alamitos, California; NAS Glenview, Illinois; NAS Point Mugu, California; NAS Dallas, Texas; and NAS New Orleans, Louisiana. Roger retired from the U.S. Navy in 1982 after achieving the highest achievable rank in his field on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Reserve as the Force Medical Master Chief. Roger continued with a second career as the Business Manager for the Arlington Orthopedic Group where he served until his retirement in 2000.
Following retirement, Roger and Diane traveled extensively. Roger loved to drive and take in every mile between point A and B. They traveled to the Tetons, Canada, Victoria, Canada, and the Pacific Coast Highway. But Roger had a special place in his heart for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the scenic off-road byways of the San Juan Mountains. Each and every summer, after the snow melt, Roger and Diane would happily pack up the Yukon, attach the jeep to the tow-bar, load up their granddaughter, Amanda, and disappear to a condo in the San Juans for a month or two at a time. Exploring the back country of the Rocky Mountains and the beauty of its nature was a passion of Roger’s. He taught his granddaughter to drive in his jeep at 13,000 feet on a rocky, broad shelf road. These were wonderful family memories as daughters Christine and Cathleen, and son-in-law Dan often joined in the adventures for a week or two at a time, as did Roger’s brother, David, bride Linda, and Roger’s niece Erin.
Roger and Diane’s Granddaughter, Amanda and her husband Josh, blessed them with two wonderful great-grandsons, Noah and Eli, who Roger cherished dearly. He was elated to have those little boys he had always dreamed of having. Little Eli is the spitting image of his great-grandpa.
Roger was an honorable man. He gave selflessly and was dedicated to his country and his family.
He was a fixer – whether it be of cars, toys, bank accounts, or broken hearts.
Roger John Ruff, 79, passed away Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas.
Visitation for Roger is scheduled for Wednesday, June 21st at 6-8 p.m. at Wade Family Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington, Tx 76013.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, June 22, 2017, at the funeral home.
Interment will be at Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery, Thursday, June 22nd at 1:00 p.m.
Roger is survived by his wife of 55 years, Diane; daughters, Cathleen Ruff-Williams and Christine Fernandez (Daniel); granddaughter, Amanda Southerland (Josh); great-grandsons, Noah and Eli; brother, David Ruff (Linda); nieces, Karli and Erin and a nephew, Earl John.