Obituary-Paul George Ruff

Paul George Ruff, 79, of Springfield, Missouri, passed away on Sunday, October 29, 2023, from complications due to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Paul was a renowned cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon in Springfield, Missouri, for 37 years. Beloved by patients and coworkers alike for his surgical skills and kindness, his patients often stopped him to chat years after their surgeries. He was a master of puns and riddles and famously entertained friends and family with his dry one-liners.

Paul enjoyed many adventures in life including piloting various aircraft, scuba diving, and canoe trips. He was a skilled woodworker and enthusiastic skier well into his 60s. Paul traveled extensively to visit his family and see the world. His favorite place was his farm in Chadwick, Missouri, where he retired with his beloved dogs and embraced country living wholeheartedly. He famously adopted a third dog “by default” when it followed him home from the local convenience store. He was known to enjoy cold Diet Cokes, warm baked goods and extra-large buckets of popcorn.

Paul attended Clay Center Community High School in Clay Center, Kansas, the University of Kansas, and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency and a fellowship in cardiovascular and thoracic surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hospitals and Clinics. He earned the honor of Eagle Scout and was licensed to fly a plane before he could legally drive a car.

Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on December 5, 1943, Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Wava (Cate) Ruff and Carl Ruff, and younger brother, Evan Ruff.

He leaves behind three children: Tim (Marla) Ruff, Ben (Jennifer) Ruff and Molly (Chris) Rouse. He was a proud grandfather to seven grandchildren: Eric, Chad, Benny, Brady, Grayson, Madi and Avery. He was married for more than 50 years to Jo Ruff. He is survived by two sisters, Joan (Dennis Wilbert) Ruff and Ellen (Steve) Resnick, sister-in-law Linda Ruff, and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life is being planned for Spring 2024 at King’s Way United Methodist Church in Springfield, Missouri, where Paul was a member for many years.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association or the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri. Tributes and condolences may be made at

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