Richard Michael Rufener

Richard M. Rufener peacefully passed away at his home, surrounded by his family on April 20th, 2014. Born on October 6, 1947 in Lodi County, Ohio; Richard is survived by his wife Cathy of 44 years, daughters Erin and Rachel (Drury) Cosner, and sons Robert and Daniel (Erica). He is the son of Tressa and late Freeman Rufener. Richard leaves behind his brother Freeman (Maria) Rufener; sister Carolyn (George) Vinay; sister Nancy (David) McVicker; and grandchildren Aaron, Eli, and Leah Cosner. Richard loved spending time with his family; any time, any place, and will be greatly missed.

Richard's passion was education; teaching 7th grade social studies for 33 years in the Ravenna School District. He used field trips all over the state to bring Ohio history alive; including archaeological digs, NASA, COSI, astronomy and orienteering at Towner's Woods, fishing & canoeing, the Winter Walk, chess club, the March of Dimes bicycle marathon at the arsenal, and the Young Astronauts Club. Richard also brought the hot air balloons to Brown Middle School for demonstrations. Richard led his own lawn care company for 33 years with help from his sons.

Richard taught marbles and chess at the Reed Memorial Library and Carlin Elementary throughout retirement. Richard enjoyed researching Ravenna history; compiling over 30 books starting during the Ravenna Bicentennial, Coca-Cola, the C. &. P. Railroad, A. C. Williams toys, Quaker Oats, the straw, Captain Video (which became the Green Hornet), clay marbles, the Erie Canal, Mark Twain, Ravenna Schools, and Benjamin Tappan. Richard attained the Benjamin Tappan state marker sitting just off of State Route 14. He was the Grand Marshall of the Balloon-A-Fair Parade twice; once as Benjamin Tappan and the second time as himself. He contributed to the Ravenna Zoning Book and supported the Ravenna Township Fire Department.

He was very involved in his church; serving as a First United Methodist Church of Ravenna Trustee, a Sunday high school teacher, Belfry chaperone for over 15 years, and attending the Thursday morning men's Bible Study, Koinonia Bible Study, and (most recently) the Friday Night Supper Group. As a retiree, he helped maintain the exterior of the church and organized a new sign.

Richard's spontaneous brand of "Rufener humor" brought his family together and entertained countless others; bringing laughter and groans to audiences far and wide. His family will always remember his strength, bravery, generosity, affection, attention to detail, and inquisitive nature. He enjoyed sharing and exchanging information with everyone. He will be forever loved and missed by his family. If you have a fond memory, please email it to rufenerhumor@yahoo.com so his family can enjoy how Richard influenced the lives of others.

Calling hours are from 4 to 7 PM on Friday, April 25th and from 2 to 3 PM on Saturday, April 26th at the First United Methodist Church at 263 South Prospect, Ravenna Ohio 44266. Additionally, his funeral begins at 3 PM on Saturday, April 26th at the First United Methodist Church of Ravenna.

The Rufener Family appreciates the care by Dr. Emmanuel Yanelli and his staff, the Robinson Hospice & Visiting Nurse Group, and all those who continue to support us with love, thoughts, and prayers.

The Rufener family hopes you donate to the American Cancer Society (in lieu of flowers) in Richard's memory. Richard always prefers a deal and his son Dan and daughter-in-law Erica work at Merck. Merck has a wonderful relationship with the American Cancer Society and matches donations 100% if given by an employee. Therefore, we ask you make any check to the First United Methodist Church at 263 South Prospect, Ravenna Ohio 44266 so that it can be matched to further the research of cancer as Richard would have loved. You may donate directly to the American Cancer Society if you prefer.

(RC 4-23 & 24-14)

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  • Dear Ruffner Family, We lived in Ravenna for many years.  Richard was Michelle's teacher, Cathy was in women's club with me and of course, our children, were in various activities throughout their school years.  I was so sorry to hear of Richard's passing.  I am sure the memories you created together will bring smiles to your faces as you think of him everyday. He was such an asset to the Ravenna community, so dedicated in every way.  Please know we care.  Cathy Russell and family.

  • Rich was a man of many interests and talents, I had the good fortune to work closely with him as a friend, teacher and chess coach. Together we were able to form a chess club into a chess team that traveled the nation. Rich was so easy to know and love with his zest for adventure and his passion for giving kids the taste of the world both in and out of the classroom. I was lucky enough to be with him and the students on geologic field trips, numerous nationwide chess tournaments, up in the St. Louis Arch, at Kitt Peak in Ariz., at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, at the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago, on Stone Mountain in Georgia, to Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and on fishing boats on Lake Erie - and you know, he always traveled with a sense of excitement and expanding the horizons for eveyone. He and I could have never accomplished so much alone but together "all things were possible"!  I am so sad at his passing but it will always be one of my great joys that I was able to know him and that we worked so closely together. I salute a great man and fine friend who lived well. I send my condolences to his most wonderful wife, Cathy and their family. - Rod Chlysta

  • Mr. Rufener Always knew how to make someone laugh, or groan. I still can remember his joke about how cheese was discovered. You will be greatly missed. I was glad to have the honor of being one of his many students.

    Crystal Cox Olinger Class of 2000

  • I KNEW RICH SINCE 1976.  HE WAS TRULY A 'BON VIVANT", "RENAISSANCE" MAN WHO LOVED HIS COMMUNITY AND COUNTRY AND ONLY HIS FAMILY TRULY KNOWS HOW MUCH HE LOVED THEM.  SINCERELY, JOHN THOMAS

  • I was new to ravenna in my 7th grade year, and i had been letting my grades fall before that. I had Mr. Rufener for social studies, and he got me involved again, interested in something. More teachers should strive to be as involved as this great man was. The world has lost a great man, and he will be dearly missed!

  • Awesome fellow. He will be missed!

  • I am so sorry for your loss! His vibrant personality and never-ending search for the next challenge made him the most interesting character I've had the pleasure of knowing. I am Linda Mack, retired Ravenna Bus Driver.

  • Thank you for all your patience teaching.  For making me laugh.  For all the candy bars i bought.  RIP 7th grade student 1983