School 17

Music by the O'Neill Brothers


James Nicholas Ruffing

May 25, 1937 ~ May 22, 2018 (age 80)
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Boardman -  There will be a Mass of Christian Burial held on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 10:00 am at St. Dominic Church, Youngstown, preceded by a 9:15 am prayer service held at the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, Boardman for James N. Ruffing, 80, of Boardman, passed away peacefully on May 22. 2018 surrounded by his family at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

He was born on May 25, 1937 in Youngstown, the son of William. and Anna (Burns) Ruffing and was a lifelong area resident.

Jim attended St. Patrick School, was a graduate from Ursuline High School, class of 1956, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Youngstown State University. He obtained his Master's degree from Westminster University and did post-graduate work at the University of Dayton. He was a member of the United State Air Force Reserves from 1960-1966.

Jim began his career in Catholic education as a history teacher and football coach at St. Dominic School. During this time period, he received the Teacher's Medal from the Freedom Foundation, Valley Forge, PA.  His most memorable experience at St. Dominic's was the 1961 football team going undefeated, untied, and unscored upon. From there be went to Cardinal Mooney High School as history and sociology teacher, senior class advisor and football and track coach. While at Cardinal Mooney he began many programs, which are still carried on today, such as senior lunch in the courtyard. During this time, he also served as evening administrator at St. Elizabeth Hospital.

After spending six years at Mooney, he was appointed principal of St. Mary Middle School in Warren where he served for over twenty years. While at St. Mary 's he directed the implementation of a new middle school concept. This concept became a model for many other schools in the United States. He was also responsible for directing the finances of the five elementary schools in Warren. Staff and students at the middle school will remember his famous phrase "You' never had it so good!" His next position was as principal of Warren John F. Kennedy High School. While serving as principal he was successful in eliminating a huge financial school debt, preventing the closing of the school. He facilitated advancements in the school's physical, academic, and technology areas and retired in 1999.

Jim returned to JFK in 2000 to coordinate the development and financial support of Project Kennedy: a nineteen-acre site for the school baseball, softball and soccer programs in addition to an all-weather running track.

He was a member of St Dominic Church where he served as Eucharistic Minister for many years. He was also a member of St. Charles Parish. He was a member of the National Secondary Principals Assoc., National Middle School Assoc., Freedom Foundation and the Mahoning Valley Gaelic Society.

Jim is survived by his wife of 57 years, Joan (Durkin) Ruffing, Daughters Mary Ann (Jim) Tomasic, Dameron, MD., Maureen (Kirk) Hough, Boardman, and son Michael Ruffing, Scottsdale, AZ. He will be dearly missed by his ten grandchildren who lovingly called Jim "Bop": Brendan, Nicole, Ryan, Megan and Connor Tomasic, Nicholas, Matthew and Katie Hough, Brielle and Abigail Ruffing. Jim loved participating and attending all of their events. His grandsons brought him out of retirement to coach flag football for them at St. Charles School. His favorite time of year was the Christmas holiday, decorating and hosting large family gatherings.

Family and friends may pay their respects on Monday, May 28, 2018 from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm at the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market St., Boardman (new location).

Burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown where military honors will be provided by the great men of the Ellsworth VFW.

Family and friends may visit to view this obituary, sign the guest book and send condolences to the Ruffing family.

In honor of Jim's forty years working in Catholic education, the family requests, in lieu of flowers, any memorial tributes be made in his name to Cardinal Mooney High School, 2545 Erie St., Youngstown, Ohio 44507 or John F. Kennedy High School, 2550 Central Parkway Ave SE, Warren, Ohio 44484 Scholarship funds.

Donations may be made to:

Cardinal Mooney High School
2545 Erie St., Youngstown OH 44507

John F Kennedy High School
2550 Central Parkway Ave SE, Warren OH 44484

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