Ruff house patriarch dies
By 05/29/2003 00:00:00
The Ellis County Press
HUTCHINS - After almost 30 years of caring for homeless and society's less fortunate Minnie Alice Walker Ruff, 75, passed away Sunday, May 18 in her sleep at Ruff House Ministries, her home and foundation for assisting others in need.
According to Ruff's daughter, Christine Zander, family members plan to keep the thrift store in Ferris on Central Aveue open.
Better known as 'Mama Ruff,' she settled in southeast Dallas on an acre of land in 1975 with nine foster children and husband, George or 'Papa Ruff,' as they began caring for the homeless, mentally ill, veterans, elderly families, handicapped and children.
'She always knew God would provide,' said Zander.
Having a soft spot in her heart, Ruff was known for never turning away people who needed help. The five-acre site grew to include meals, housing and food pantry for the community.
'She (Mama) would give anyone anything they asked for,' Zander said. 'They just had to ask.'
Children brought a great deal of joy to Ruff's life.
'She sees so much beauty in everything,' said Zander 'Her philosophy was family, she wanted everyone to feel like family.'
The Ruff House eventually grew to ten buildings on five acres housing as many as 100 people seven days a week and 365 days a year.
Ruff was recognized for her tireless devotion to others by receiving numerous awards, such as Valley Forge Freedom Award, Points of Lite Award, Good Hands Award, Savvy Award, Good Samaritan Award, Dallas Peace Center Award, and the World Visionary Award, just to name a few.
Ruff considered all who she helped extended family.
'She respected people. She didn't make them feel inadequate,' said Zander. 'She told them they could do anything they could put their mind to.'
People stayed as long as they needed to get back on their feet with some staying a few months and others needing years to rebuild their lives.
Ruff House Ministries became a non-profit organization with no funding from federal, state or local organizations.
Ruff was the last of seven children born Oct. 22, 1927 in Joplin, Miss. to a single Cree mother.
Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Ruff House Ministries, P.O. Box 426 Hutchins, TX 75141 to assist the ministry in helping others.