Saturday, May 30, 2015
Arthur W. Ruff of Gilbert, Ariz., a former Westport resident, died May 15 due to a stroke. He was 92.
Born in Westport in 1923, he moved with his parents and sisters to San Diego in 1941. He served in World War II as a navigator in the Army Air Corps flying out of England on 30 missions over Europe, for which he was awarded the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Accompanied by his then wife, Olive, and with the support of the GI Bill, he received bachelor’s degrees in geology and mining engineering and in years later, a doctorate in mining engineering from Colorado School of Mines, and a master’s in geology from the University of Arizona.
His interest in seeing the world took him to management positions in mining in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Liberia, and Nigeria. When he relocated back to the United States in 1995 he maintained his keen interest as an amateur herpetologist by creating and patenting a computer program for identifying snakes.
Over the years, he had collected snakes and worked with museums and experts to identify them. He also worked as a security guard at the Development Services Department of the City of San Diego, where he greatly appreciated his many friends.
A huge crowd of co-workers wished him well at his retirement party in 2014. Following a diagnosis of ALS, he and his wife, Natalina, relocated to Gilbert, where their son, daughter-in-law, and three grandsons live.
Art will be remembered for his personal warmth and sense of humor, his love of adventure, and his perpetual optimism. He was a proud member of the Explorers Club and a lover of nature’s wonders.
Thanks to efforts by his San Diego co-workers, he was especially pleased to be a part of an Honor Flight taking World War II veterans to visit their monuments in Washington, D.C.
He is survived by his wife, Natalina; sons Arthur and Andrew; daughters Jacquelynn and Andrea; four grandsons; and ex-wife Olive.
Posted 05/30/15 at 02:19 PM Permalink