Erwin Ruff

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Erwin Ruff, 92, of McGregor, died Friday, May 25, at his home in McGregor, in the care of his family. 


He was born on May 28, 1925, to Edmund and Clara (Berns) Ruff in National. Erwin joined the U.S. Army, served in World War II and was honorably discharged.


Erwin was united in marriage with Eileen Agnes Connor on Sept. 8, 1951, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Monona. Eight children were born to this union. Together they farmed outside of McGregor, and were active members of St. Mary’s Parish. 


Erwin, a lifelong farmer, enjoyed hunting, fishing, planting trees, and sharing his love of nature and farming with his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a supporter of 4-H and Boy Scouts and an active member of the Clayton County Fair Board for the past 50 years. Erwin supported many wildlife and conservation programs throughout his life. He was a member of the American Legion and local AMVETS post and an avid supporter of activities honoring American Veterans including, parades, military honors, fundraising and displaying of flags. 


Erwin, along with his wife and children, started Ruff’s Sugar Bush and have been producing maple syrup and sorghum for 50 years. Many school children will remember visiting the Ruff farm for a field trip to learn how maple syrup was made and to taste a sorghum cookie. 


Erwin is survived by his eight children, Mary (Tom) Giese, of McGregor, Rose Ann (Noel) Cantu, of McGregor, Don (Kari) Ruff, of McGregor, Bob (Utoni) Ruff, of Garnavillo, Alan (Connie) Ruff, of Farmersburg, Jim Ruff (special friend, Cindy Koons), of Monona, Carol (Dan) Voss, of Decorah, and Dan (Patti) Ruff, of McGregor; nineteen grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren; and a sister, Helen Farrell, of California.


Erwin was preceded in death by his wife, Eileen; his parents; a brother, Edmund Ruff; and a sister, Alice Ellwanger.


Visitation will be on Thursday, May 31, from 4 to 7 p.m., at St. Mary Catholic Church, McGregor, with a Scripture Service at 7 p.m. There will also be a one hour visitation before Mass at the church on Friday. Mass of Christian Burial with Military Honors will be at 10 a.m., on Friday, June 1, at St. Mary Catholic Church, McGregor, with Rev. Nils de Jesus Hernandez as the Celebrant and Deacon Pat Malanaphy assisting. Inurnment will be at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery, McGregor, at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the St. Mary Building Fund and the McGregor AmVets. Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, McGregor, is helping the family with arrangements.


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