Longtime Manassa resident Dale Allen Ruff, “Rufus” 54, died February 15, 2018 at his home in Manassa. Dale was born in Farmington, New Mexico, on March 30, 1963 to Luther Dale Ruff and Alice Jeanne Hartley Ruff. He married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer Diane Claunch on August 31, 1987, in Yerington, Nevada and they were later sealed for all eternity in the Manti, Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on January 5, 1990.
Dale worked as a Police Officer in Conejos County for 32 plus years. He worked as a deputy under Sheriff Gene DeHerrera, Sheriff Gerald Rivera, Sheriff Isaac Gallegos, and Sheriff Jose (Joe) Taylor. He was also an officer with The Antonito Police Department when he was given the position of Chief of Police in Manassa where he worked for 10 years. He then ran for Sheriff of Conejos County and after an unsuccessful attempt, he and his family moved to Liberal Kansas where he worked as the Manager of his brother’s Plumbing and Heating Company. Two years later he returned home and went to work for Denver Public Schools at East High School as a Public Safety Officer, and they asked him to be coordinator of the drum corp. He then returned to Conejos County and became the Chief for the Sanford Police Department, where he was employed at the time of his death.
Dale was a member of numerous Law Enforcement Organizations including the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, San Luis Valley Peace Officers Association, Colorado Chiefs of Police, County Sheriff’s of Colorado, and the National Chiefs of Police. Dale was well respected in the Law Enforcement community as a kind and compassionate police officer yet he was a “warrior” when he needed to be. He loved his BLUE family and his heart would break anytime one was lost.
He loved music and has played the drums since he was a little boy. As a senior in high school he was named assistant Band Director and he helped guide and instruct those junior high and high school students with so much love. He loved the drums and it was always his desire to play with a band. In the last few years of his life, he was able to do just that. He and 3 friends started the band “Kickin’ Back”. They played for numerous dances, holidays and weddings in the San Luis Valley and even as far as Pueblo, Gunnison, and Pagosa Springs. They even recorded a CD that many people were able to obtain a copy of.
He loved riding his V-Max and he and his sweetheart took many rides together. He loved fishing and camping and the Denver Broncos. He loved his wife dearly, and his pride and joy were his children and grandchildren.
He was known for his great sense of humor and loved for his selfless service. He never hesitated to drop what he was doing to help anyone that needed his help and that was pretty often. He was often seen on the lawnmower mowing his elderly neighbors’ lawns, or moving snow with a backhoe. He frequently worked on friends’ heaters and water lines and anything else he could to make someone’s life a little easier.
He loved young people and throughout his life he influenced so many of them. Many of them called him DAD, and many of them followed in his law enforcement footsteps. He had such an influence with them to get them to turn their lives around. He was always more willing to give them a break and try and help them do better, than to haul them to jail and cause them more hardship.
He is survived by the love of his life, Jennifer Ruff, of the family home in Manassa; his girls, Shaina Ruff of Liberal, Kansas, Amanda (Enriquez) Maez, Kayla Ruff of California, Liana Ruff of Manassa, and Rebecca Ruff of Manassa, his grandchildren; Ashtyn Maez, Mekhai Ward, Tre’ Ruff, and Aevyn Maez; his brother and sister Randall (Janel) Hartley of Liberal, Kansas, and Deborah (Greg) Heller of Poulsbo, WA. And his “adopted” brother and sister Fred (Cynthia) Rish of Thornton, Colorado, , three special children that weren’t his but called him Dad; Sierra Harlow of Oklahoma, Scott Schramko of Ponca City, Oklahoma, and Stacia Sowards of Loveland, Colorado, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family and friends.
Dale is preceded in death by an infant son, Dalen James, his father Luther Dale Ruff, his mother Alice Jeanne Tooker, his grandparents Alice Uzilla Baird, Tim Baird, and Walter Hartley.
A visitation will be held in the primary room at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Manassa on Thursday, February 22, 2018 from 6:00-8:00 p.m., and Friday, February 23, 2018 from 9:00-10:45 a.m. Funeral services will follow at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 23, 2018 at the church in Manassa. Interment will take place in the Manassa Cemetery following the funeral. Contributions may be made through the Gofundme account set up for Dale at https://www.gofundme.com/support-family-of-officer-dale-ruff