UPDATE: Former Williamstown Fire Chief Honored

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Update 11/20/12 10:50 P.M.

J.L. Dean Junior was named to the position of Williamstown fire chief Tuesday evening.

Dean is a 26-year veteran of the volunteer force, and was nominated by a vote of his men.

He fills the vacancy left by the late Joe Ruf.

City council also made a proclamation honoring the late fire chief and presented it to his family. (see story below)

Update 11/20/12 7:15 P.M.

The late Williamstown fire chief gets an award only two before him have received.

Joe Ruf, who died November tenth, will be the third recipient of the "Spirit of Williamstown" award.

Ruf's widow was there to accept the honor, during Tuesday night's city council meeting.

"What he has done will certainly be remembered for many years in our town," said Mayor Jean Ford. "And that's why we wanted to give this award (Tuesday night)."

Ruf, who was chief of the fire department for 26 years and a member for 60, retired in late October.


UPDATE: 11/11/2012 8:40 PM

Visitation and funeral services are set for former Williamstown Fire Department Chief Joe Ruf.

Visitation will be held Monday, November 12th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at People's Funeral Home on Front Street in Marietta.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, November 13th at 10:30 am at the First Presbyterian Church in Williamstown.

Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery, with full military rites observed.


UPDATE: 11/11/2012 8:35 PM

The Williamstown community is mourning the loss of a retired fire chief. Joe Ruf passed away Saturday in his home from what it believed to be a heart attack. He was 77 years old.

His co-workers and friends remember the man they loved so dearly.

"Such a loss...such a loss in our community," says Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford.

"He was more than our fire chief. He was a friend, a father," remembers Williamstown Fire Department Lt. Troy Phillips.

"He's going to be horribly missed. He was a tremendous mentor, a super friend. Probably the epitome of what a fire chief should be and could be," says Sr. Cpt. Jerry Townsend.

Fire chief, a best friend, a leader, an inspiration. So many words describe former Williamstown Fire Department Chief Joe Ruf. He died suddenly on Saturday afternoon and the whole community is taking the loss hard.

"He was our friend. Sad day for us. He'll just be so missed in every part of my life. It's really like loosing a part of your family," says Mayor Ford.

It's a family of brothers for the Williamstown Fire Department, with Ruf as their leader for 26 years.

"We always felt, family first, fire department second, but as everyone will tell you, the fire department was our family," Phillips says.

"He was a wonderful fire chief. He cared about his men. He was just a good Samaritan. He really cared about everyone in our town and only wanted the best for everyone," remembers Mayor Ford.

He joined the department when he was 17. Fighting fires for over 60 years and bringing the community and the department together.

"He took a leadership role that we all respected. Anything he got involved in, he had that drive to get people to help," Phillips remembers.

"He was never one to tell others what to do. He was one to get in and do it and by his example, lead us into following him," Townsend says.

Ruf retired just a few weeks ago. Co-workers say it was a difficult decision for him to leave, but even more difficult for them now knowing he won't be around.

"He retired two weeks ago and that was hard on us, but this loss is going to hit us for a long time coming," says Phillips.

"I was in the workings, myself and council, on giving Joe an award for 'The Pride of Williamstown'," Mayor Ford says.

"It's just hard to imagine him not being around," says Townsend.


The Williamstown community is mourning the loss of a retired fire chief.

Mayor Jean Ford says Former Chief Joe Ruf passed away this afternoon.

She says Ruf was watching a ball game on TV at home when his wife found him unresponsive Saturday afternoon. It's believed he had a heart attack. Ruf was in his late 70s.

He served as Fire Chief for Williamstown over 20 years and he just retired a few weeks ago. He was a volunteer with the department for over 60 years.

Mayor Ford says she was planning on awarding Ruf with the "Pride of Williamstown Award."

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