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James Ruff, process operator, active churchman

May 16, 1935 – Aug. 8, 2016

James Ruff, an active churchman and retiree of the Mobil Oil Refinery in Buffalo, died Monday in Roswell Park Cancer Institute after a short illness. He was 81.

Born in Ninety Six, S.C., Mr. Ruff was a graduate of Ninety Six High School. He moved to Buffalo in 1956.

A longtime Hamlin Park resident, Mr. Ruff joined Mobil in 1970 and retired in 1992. He worked as a process operator, responsible for overseeing the production process of the chemical plant facility.

He was a member of St. John Baptist Church and served as a Sunday school trustee.

An avid golfer, Mr. Ruff was a member of the Delaware National Golf Club for 15 years and won the club championship five times. He developed a youth golf program at St. John, and played an instrumental role in starting the Tiger Woods Inner City Golf Program in 1993. He and a close friend, the late Henry Davis, envisioned the program as a vehicle for kids to learn life lessons through golf.

He also was active in the Golden Age Center of the Salvation Army and William-Emslie YMCA Senior Program.

His wife of 60 years, the former Dorothy Bailey, died in 2012.

Survivors include three daughters, Estella Witherspoon, Gilda and Roslyn; a son, James H.; one sister, Cleola Norman; a brother, Samuel; and two grandchildren.

A wake and funeral will be held in St. John Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St., at 10 a.m. Monday.

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