L. Candy Ruff, Ph. D., beloved wife, mother, and state legislator, passed from this life on June 16, 2016 due to complications from peritonitis.
L. Candy Ruff, Ph. D., beloved wife, mother, and state legislator, passed from this life on June 16, 2016 due to complications from peritonitis. She was 65.
Candy was elected to the newly formed 40th District to the Kansas House of Representatives from 1993 to 2009, where she defined herself as a “conservative Democrat.” She served on the state committees for Business, Commerce and Labor, Arts and Cultural Resources, Federal and State Affairs, Judiciary and Rules and Regulations. As a legislator, she was vigilant in helping those who sought her aid in accessing in what could seem like a maze of governmental agencies.
When Candy spoke to groups, as she often did, she captivated the crowd and left them laughing as well as informed. Her friends and family also loved that quick and sharp wit. No politician ever wanted to follow Candy during a political forum.
After her retirement from politics, she completed a doctorate in 2012 in American History at the University of Kansas, where she had also earned her BA and MA. Her area of interest was 19th Century Kansas, with a specialization in child welfare. She also studied social work at the University of Missouri at Kansas City and was a 1969 graduate of Parkview High School in Springfield Mo.
From 1982 to 1992, Candy was a reporter covering city government and then a lifestyle editor for the Leavenworth Times. Her particular love was the history surrounding the orphans who came to Kansas in its early day. She began writing a series on the cemeteries of Leavenworth County which she thought would take a year, and lasted three years as she discovered more cemeteries than were originally listed.
She was also a former geriatric social worker for the Leavenworth County Council on Aging.
Candy was active in the Leavenworth community, and was the first female member of the Leavenworth Lions Club. She served on the Riverfront Community Center steering committee, and was a former board member of the Leavenworth County Historical Society.
Candy was born in Springfield Mo. on Feb. 13, 1951, where she was baptized in the First Baptist Church. She was the eldest surviving daughter of Lyndall C. and Eleanor Burtner Williamson, both deceased. She was also preceded in death by her elder sister Lynelle (1949) and brother Lyndall C. “Ike” Williamson.
She is survived by Gregory Ruff Sr., her husband of 30 years, who retired from the Leavenworth Police Department in 2011; son Robert Julian and wife Krysten Robinson of Riverside Calif.; brother James I. Williamson and wife Lauren Cercone of Phoenix Ariz.; sister Lenna Lyvia May of Phoenix Ariz.; stepsons Christopher and Tara Ruff of Olathe; Gregory W. Jr. and Mindy Ruff, Leavenworth; stepdaughter Jennifer Haganey and husband Charlie, Leavenworth; and 13 grandchildren.
Candy was a loyal, loving and generous mother, wife and friend who will be greatly missed by all of those who knew her.
There will be a two-day visitation scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. June 20 and 21 at the Davis Funeral Chapel. The memorial service will be held at the Leavenworth Baptist Church, Broadway and Spruce, Leavenworth, Wednesday, June 22, at 10 a.m. A private burial will be held later at the Eastlawn Cemetery in Springfield Mo.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to be made to the Leavenworth County Historical Society.