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James J. ‘Joe’ Ruf

November 12, 2012
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

James J. "Joe" Ruf, 77, Lombardy Drive, Williamstown, died Nov. 10, 2012.

A servant of God, and a servant of the community, Joe was born March 28, 1935, in Marietta, Ohio, a son of the late Carl J. and Violet Fenton Ruf.

Following graduation from Williamstown High School in 1954, he served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1957, during the Korean War. He was employed in 1960 by Union Carbide Plastics, which later became Amoco. Joe retired from there in 1995. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Williamstown, where he had served as a member of the Church Session and the Church Deacons. He also was a member of American Legion Post 159, having been active with the Honor Guard., Masonic Lodge 129 and other associated organizations, and the 911 Advisory Board for Wood County, since its inception.

Joe had been an active member of the Williamstown Volunteer Fire Company since October 1952. His accomplishments included 60 years of service, retiring as Chief of the department on Oct. 25, 2012. He had served as Chief since October 1986. He was the oldest fireman in West Virginia to have completed and passed the Certified Fireman's Test, at age 66. Joe had been instrumental in the construction of a new fire station in Williamstown. Joe and a number of men built the picnic shelter across from the City Building during the "Hometown West Virginia Project." Along with fellow firefighters and other Williamstown residents, they built the new Food Pantry.

Joe was married in July 1958 to Ruth Williamson, who survives with two children, Susan Barengo (Jim) of Marietta and Greg Ruf (Brenda) of Dublin, Ohio. Also surviving are grandchildren, Alex and Eric Barengo and Carl, Mark and Eva Ruf; and a brother, Tom Ruf (Linda) of Williamstown.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Sally Butler.

Joe will be deeply missed by his family, friends, the Williamstown Fire Department, the First Presbyterian Church and the entire Williamstown community.

Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at First Presbyterian Church in Williamstown, with Pastor Elizabeth Campbell-Maleke officiating. Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery, with full military rites observed. The family will greet friends at Marietta Chapel of Cawley & Peoples Funeral Home from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. today.

It is suggested that memorials may be directed to First Presbyterian Church, 314 W. Fifth St., or to the Williamstown Food Pantry, 125 E. Fifth St., both in Williamstown, WV 26187.

Online condolences may be expressed by visiting



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