Clarence Gerald Ruff
April 18, 1928- February 18, 2021
C. Gerald Ruff, known to most as Jerry, passed peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours of February 18, 2021 at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife, Noreen, three sons, William, Thomas, and Kenneth (Martha’s husband), seven grandchildren: Sarah, Emily, Kaylee, Stevie, Katherine, Jonathan and Todd, as well as two great-grandchildren.
Born in Decatur, Illinois, his family moved to Springfield during his childhood and he attended the University of Illinois before being accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1948 where he met the love of his life. He was graduated in the Class of 1952 and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers. Soon after receiving his commission, he was deployed to Korea with the 10th Combat Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry. On June 12, 1953, while under heavy enemy fire, he rallied his platoon to take a key tactical position from the enemy and gallantly held the position repelling repetitive attacks throughout the evening and into the next day. His bravery in the face of hostile forces resulted in his garnering the Nation’s third highest military award, the Silver Star, as well as the Purple Heart.
Upon returning to the United States, he married Noreen at the Catholic Chapel at West Point in January 1955 and continued his career in the Army. William was born in 1956 at Fort Meade, Maryland. As a Captain, he was assigned to complete his master’s degree in civil engineering at Iowa State University before deploying with his family to Germany in 1961. He was promoted to Major, and Thomas was born in 1962 while living in Murnau, Germany. After a three-year tour, he returned to Iowa State University at Ames to complete his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Nuclear Engineering.
After completing his doctorate, he was assigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where his daughter, the late Martha Anne, was born in 1965. In 1966, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel and after settling his family in Kings Park, New York, he deployed to Viet Nam where he served with distinction and was awarded the Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster. Upon his return from the Viet Nam war, he was assigned as the Deputy Commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, then subsequently as the Professor of Military Science at Brooklyn Polytechnical University. After a 20-year distinguished Army career, he retired as a Lt. Colonel in 1972.
Upon his retirement from the Army, he worked for a civil engineering firm in Suffolk County, New York. Within a year of working for the firm, he was offered a job as President of a construction company in Denver, Colorado and moved his family to Aurora, Colorado. In 1975, he started his own engineering consultation company; then a few years later, took a job as the Chief Building Official for the City of Aurora, Colorado. A position he held until his retirement from the city in 1988.
Throughout his retirement years, he enjoyed travel, reading, playing the stock market, and laughing with friends and family. Jerry perceived himself as a “gruff old Army Colonel, but in fact, he possessed a generous heart and was quick to share a joke, comfort friends or offer advice to his progeny. Throughout his life, he was tenacious and achieved much. He will be missed by all who knew him and deserves a gentle breeze to ease him through his journeys in the next life.