Obituary for John Adam Ruf
John Adam Ruf, Ph.D, P.E.
Born on January 16, 1939 Passed on June 21, 2017
John Adam Ruf completed his earthly accomplishments the evening of June 21, 2017 with the loving care of his eldest son by his side, and family and lifelong friends worldwide praying for his peaceful entrance into his eternal journey. His life was filled with many joys and achievements; from his amazing career to being a loving husband and a proud caring father, friend and co-worker.
John was born to Paul W. and Amalia Ruf on January 16, 1939 at the family home in Kansas City, Missouri. He was welcomed into this world by his four energetic siblings (Bill, Helen, Jacob, and August) and later joined by a baby sister (Jeanne). He learned early in life how to meet challenges and solve problems while keeping a positive spirit and kind heart.
John attended Blenheim and Norman Elementary, Westport High School, Kansas City Junior College, and also the University of Missouri at Columbia where he began pursuing an education in civil engineering in 1959. He transferred to the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence the following year and graduated with his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering spring of 1962.
Early in his career and while also attending school, he worked at WDAF-TV fulltime where he started out as an office boy and eventually was promoted to news reporter. He also worked at the Missouri Highway Department of Transportation as a surveyor and for Smith & Loveless collecting and analyzing wastewater samples.
While working for the Kansas State Board of Health post-undergraduate, he entered the KU graduate program in fall of 1962. The summer of 1963, John met his future wife, Maureen Frances Vap, at Marymount College in Salina, Kansas while attending a dance with his roommate. For several years, John would travel to Salina on weekends to visit Maureen and on August 7, 1965 they became lifelong partners in marriage with a small ceremony in Atwood, Kansas.
In 1966, John completed his graduate studies obtaining a M.S. in Environmental Health Engineering. During Vietnam he served in the US Public Health Service as a Lt. Sr. Commissioned Officer for the newly formed Solid Waste Program in Washington, D.C. He was transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio the summer of 1967. In 1968 he moved to Gainesville, Florida to become Project Engineer of the Gainesville Municipal Composting facility and started attending the University of Florida graduate school. John completed his Dissertation earning his Doctorate from the University of Florida in 1974 in Waste Management. In 1972 he was commissioned to head the USEPA, Region II Solid Waste Program in New York City, New York. John and Maureen lived in the charming community of Mahwah, New Jersey where John commuted daily by train to Lower Manhattan and walked through the World Trade Center every day. In 1974, John joined Burns & McDonnell engineering firm and moved to Leawood, KS. In 1975 he and his wife temporarily moved to Semarang, Indonesia for six months while he worked on environmental projects in the region. In 1988 John became an Officer at Burns and McDonnell; Vice President of Waste Consultants.
John and Maureen lived in Leawood, Kansas when they welcomed the births of their three children Travis Alexander (1977), John Paul (1980), and Mollie Magdalen (1986). In the summer of 1989 the young family moved to Lee's Summit, Missouri where they built their home and became part of the local community by co-developing Winterset Woods subdivision. They still reside in the home that was lovingly built over 30 years ago by his brother Augie.
In 2000, after a long and successful career, John retired from Burns and McDonnell. John and Maureen enjoyed many adventurous travels along with family, grandkids and friends. They traveled all over the world from Alaska to the southern plains of Spain. During the winter months they headed South to their home in Apollo Beach, Florida. It was a lifelong dream of John's to see the Panama Canal as it was an engineering marvel, and in the spring of 2016 he checked it off his bucket list. It was a glorious and fun filled trip. It would be his last great adventure as kidney disease was taking over his well-traveled body and ultimately suffered from complications with his heart.
John always enjoyed his vivacious grandsons, Austin, Tyler, Isaac, and Eli. They were his pride and joy that gave him hope for his family's future. He loved watching them learn and grow and taught them as much as he could before leaving this world. He leaves behind his wife and best friend, Maureen; his amazing children, Travis, John P., and daughter, Mollie Ruf-Kessler; daughter-in-law, Becky Ruf; son-in-law, J.R. Kessler; and four grandsons, Austin, Tyler, Isaac, and Eli. He will also be missed by his dedicated, loving, and loyal brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, and many marvelous friends and relatives.
We will miss the rock in our family circle, but have a treasure-trove of memories filled with laugher and his shinning light to hold onto. The ultimate jokester will always be in our hearts and minds.
"Understand the big picture, work hard and pay attention to details. Know what you have to do and then figure out how to get there."
John A. Ruf