After serving his community for decades, Robert Ruffin, Sr.’s mark on Queens will be felt for years to come.
A longtime civic leader and a World War II veteran, Ruffin died Dec. 28. He was 94 years old.
The community leader’s life was remembered by family members, friends and other civic leaders at a funeral service held Tuesday at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Jamaica. Ruffin, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1941 to 1945, was buried at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island.
Born March 3, 1919 in Fort Worth, Texas to the late Claude and Claudia Ruffin, he was the second son of seven siblings – including four brothers and two sisters.
Ruffin was the father of three children – Robert Ruffin, Jr., Ella J. Williams, and Carol Brennan.
A graduate of the LM Terrell High School in Fort Worth, he went on to serve his country from 1941 to 1945. After he was honorably discharged from the Army, he moved to San Francisco and attended Golden Gate College for two years.
Ruffin moved to New York City in 1953 and attended Monroe Business College in the Bronx, where he received a certificate in bookkeeping, accounting and tax preparation. He went on to work for the U.S. Post Office for 31 years, and at the time of his retirement he was the Superintendent of Building Services.
Ruffin went back to school and graduated from York College in Jamaica in 1989, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He was a proud member of the York College Alumni group.
Renowned for being an incredibly active member of the community, he was a lifetime member of the NAACP and served with distinction as the second vice chairperson on Community Board 10. He was a member of CB 10 for 32 years and also served as Chaplain of Proctor Hopson Post #1896 VFW. Additionally, he was a member of American Legion Post #1946 in Laurelton.
As his family wrote in his obituary printed for the funeral, “Robert loved reading, travelling dancing, and the ladies; his trademark line to women he met was, ‘Give me a hug and a kiss.’”
“We all loved him, but God loved him best,” his family wrote.
Ruffin leaves behind his three children, six grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.