Cover photo for Dr. Timothy M. Ruff's Obituary
Dr. Timothy M. Ruff Profile Photo
1947 Dr. 2023

Dr. Timothy M. Ruff

January 29, 1947 — May 18, 2023

Indianapolis, IN

Timothy M. Ruff, Ph.D., (birth name Kenneth Leland Ruff) passed away on May 18, 2023 in Noblesville, Indiana.  He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Laura Hansen Dean, J.D., Indianapolis, and her siblings, Linda Frary, Nancy Riordan, and Michael Hansen; and greatly loved son and daughter-in-law Joshua and Jamie Ruff and their 3 daughters, Emerson, Monroe, and Jade, Fishers, Indiana.  He is also survived by his sister Judith Ruff Cates and her daughter Jackie in Oregon. His two surviving Barnhill/Washington cousins, Beth and Lola, live in Hickory, N.C.

Timothy was born in Wilmington, Delaware to Kenneth Lincoln Ruff and Grace Elizabeth (Betty) Barnhill; both predeceased him. His long-time stepfather George Stradley also predeceased him. His family moved frequently during his childhood as his father Ken was a DuPont manager. A lifelong Episcopalian, he served as an altar boy at the Episcopal Cathedral in Wilmington. He loved spending time with his Ruff grandparents at their farm in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, his grandmother Barnhill in Wilmington, and at his mother and uncle’s summer place on the Chesapeake Bay. He graduated from Newcastle High School in Newcastle, Delaware.

After one year at Lees-McCrea College in Banner Elk, North Carolina he was drafted in the Army and served 13 years in the Army and National Guard, including 2 tours of duty in Vietnam serving as a combat medic with the infantry 1968-70, and a tour of duty in Germany. He earned the prestigious Expert Field Medical Badge and 2 Bronze Stars. He continued his post-secondary studies when he returned home, graduating in 1977 with a B.A. from North Texas State University, now the University of North Texas, where he made lifelong friends in the theatre community,

He earned his M.S. degree in theatre and Ph.D. in education from Kansas State University in 1984 and 1989. His doctoral dissertation was “Comparison of Theatre Curricula Between Two-Year and Four-Year Colleges in Region V South of the American College Theatre Festival.”  He did post-doctoral work at the University of Denver, Colorado.

He taught philosophy, acting, theatre, logic, and speech at several private and state universities and was nominated for  Teacher of the Year at Mount Marty University in Yankton, South Dakota. There he directed two musical productions and managed the University radio station.

He earned his M.S., degree in special education from Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana in 2002, focusing on profound and severe disabilities.

Timothy visited many state and most national parks during his lifetime.  He was an avid student of art and art history starting with a 6-week art trip in Europe during his college years. As such he loved visiting art museums in the US and Europe and historic sites with Laura. He was a classic rock lover and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the bands and music of this era. He and Laura enjoyed attending the ballet, symphonies, rock concerts, and opera.

He will be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery where his father is buried and his Uncle Scott Washington and Aunt Lola (Barnhill) Washington’s ashes are interred. Memorial contributions can be made to any charitable organization serving combat veterans and their families.

“Well done good and faithful servant,” Matthew 25:23.  Rest in peace; you will be missed.

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