Friday, September 21, 2012

Brian Ruffing - Nov 1969 to Sept 2012

Welcome to the memorial page for Brian Ruffing.

How do you sum up someone’s life?  Brian was so much more than what you will read here.

Brian was born to Bob and Judy in Powell, Wyoming.  He attended schools in Powell, Stanley North Dakota, McCook Nebraska and eventually graduated from high school in Salisbury Missouri.  He attended Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology (and should have had a second degree in Rescuing Bill the Cat from would be kidnappers!). 

Brian was well known for having a very dry, acerbic sense of humor and a love of all things relating to puns.  As a family we would sit around trying to top each other in puns pertaining to a particular subject (most often fowl, and foul puns!).  Brian almost always got the last pun in.  Many times his last word included quotes from "The Far Side".

He enjoyed all things Star Wars, playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with friends, camping, and fishing.  His love of fishing was born early on, on the shores of Yellowstone Lake.  He later became a proficient fly fisherman, tying his own flies during the winter months, and even spent one Christmas in New Zealand fly fishing!

Although he would never admit it, Brian had an amazing talent for music.  He sat first chair saxophone the whole time he was in band, and had a beautiful baritone singing voice.

Brian discovered the world of wildland fire after his sister, Lori, came home telling stories about working as a firefighter for the Kootenai National Forest in Montana during the 1988 fire season.  He began his firefighting career working for the State of Idaho in 1989.  The very next year Brian got on with the Forest Service on the Selway Ranger District of the Nez Perce National Forest.  He and Lori got to work on the same fire crew there - something both of them truly enjoyed. He then moved on to the Red River Ranger District of the Nez Perce, where he stayed as a fire crew leader until 1998.

In 1998 Brian moved to Montana to work on the Kootenai National Forest as a Helicopter Module Leader.  At the end of the 2000 fire season, Brian moved to the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest in Las Vegas as an Assistant Helicopter Manager.  He was promoted to Manager in 2002, switching from the USFS to the BLM.  In March of 2009, Brian rejoined the Forest Service, moving back to Montana, and working for the Flathead National Forest as the Forest Aviation Officer.

He was briefly married to Jennifer, whom he met while working in Las Vegas, and from that union came the true love of his life, his daughter Amanda Kay.  Amanda and Brian spent hours snuggling in the recliner, a favorite time of day for both of them.  Brian’s Will established a trust fund for Amanda, that will be overseen by his parents until she is 21.

Brian loved the Green Bay Packers and spent many football Sundays with his friends cheering on “his” team, and harassing anyone that dared to cheer for the dreaded Vikings.  The one year he and his friends traveled to Green Bay to watch them defeat the Vikings was one of many events in his life he truly enjoyed and often talked about.

Brian passed away in Lander Wyoming on September 12, 2012

At the family ranch in eastern Wyoming, his family constructed a memorial tribute to him in a tree overlooking the chalk rock bank (see the photos tab at the top of the page) and, in a private service, his ashes were scattered over his favorite parts of the ranch via a small private plane.

Brian's family has established a memorial fund in his honor to aid the families of fallen or injured wildland firefighters.  The intent of this fund is to aid the families and firefighters that have been killed or injured in the line of duty.  Brian's family would especially like the funds to go towards firefighters employed in Forest Service Regions 1 and 4, and the Nevada Region of the BLM.

Please feel free to share your memories of Brian on the Memories tab at the top of the page.

Contributions to the Brian C Ruffing Memorial Wildland Fire Care Fund or to the Amanda Kay Ruffing Trust may be mailed to 

[fund of your choice]
C/O Judy Ruffing
884 Lane 11 1/2 
Powell, Wy 82435