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“Linda and Family..I was shocked and saddened to hear of Joes passing..In 1975 he lured me, then ex Navy Submariner at the Harvard Business School to...Read More »
1 of 27 | Posted by: Bill Elliott - Princeton NJ, NJ

“Linda and family, We are very sad to hear about the passing of our dear friend Joe. He was a wonderful man and a great leader. He lived life to...Read More »
2 of 27 | Posted by: John Von Paris - Baltimore, MD

“Dear Linda, Our company, Transpo International Ltd. (now Asian Tigers Thailand), represented northAmerican Van Lines for over 35 years. We came to...Read More »
3 of 27 | Posted by: Bill Reinsch

“My condolences for the loss of Mr. Ruffolo. I only knew him for a brief time, but he left quite an impact! Very kind, motivated, and full of...Read More »
4 of 27 | Posted by: Kristy Ponder - Fort Wayne, IN

“Linda and Family, We were saddened to learn of Joe's recent death. After I retired from FWCS Joe gave me guidance as I established a company -...Read More »
5 of 27 | Posted by: Dan and Beverly Howe - Sarasota, FL

“To Joe's Family, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Joe. You have our condolences. Joe had a positive effect on everyone that knew him. He...Read More »
6 of 27 | Posted by: Rick Trump - Fort Wayne, IN

“We simply do not expect the giants among us to leave. For so many years Joe has been a "difference maker" in nearly every corner of the Ft. Wayne...Read More »
7 of 27 | Posted by: dana wichern - fort wayne, IN

“Like so many, we were saddened by Joe's passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with Linda and the Ruffolo family. Joe's enormous contributions to...Read More »
8 of 27 | Posted by: John and Mary Brandt - Fort Wayne, IN

“Joe was such an instrumental part of my growth as a business person. I will never forget him and wish his family well. I hope that the memories of...Read More »
9 of 27 | Posted by: Dee Putman-Elliott - Irvine, CA

“Good men are well remembered. Rest in peace, Joe. ”
10 of 27 | Posted by: David Zych - Dallas, TX

“JOE RUFFOLO, AKA "THE BUFFALO" , WAS WITHOUT A DOUBT ONE OF THE GREAT MEN I HAVE KNOWN. ALTHOUGH WE DID NOT SEE EACH OTHER OFTEN THERE WAS WARMTH IN...Read More »
11 of 27 | Posted by: JOE - GLENDALE, CA

“ALWAYS A GENTLEMAN AND RESPECTED BUSINESS MAN. HE IS IRREPLACIBLE. WE ENOYED AN OPERA IN S.F. ONE EVENING WITH TOM & LINDA ZIRK. FOND MEMORIES. ”
12 of 27 | Posted by: BOBBEE CAMPBELL - CONCORD, CA

“To Joe's family, please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. I trust that your memories will help during this saddest of times.I did not know...Read More »
13 of 27 | Posted by: George Sikora - Wheaton, IL

“Linda & family, so very sorry for your loss. Joe was a good guy and liked by all who were lucky enough to know him. North American was made better...Read More »
14 of 27 | Posted by: Tom Weimer - Fort Wayne, IN

“Dear Linda, we were so sorry to read of Joe's passing. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers during this time .We still...Read More »
15 of 27 | Posted by: Don and Jane Blankers - Norcross, GA

“I guess Entrepreneurs and investors are needed in Heaven also. Many are sad to see you go sometimes heaven doesn't think so. My Prayers going out to...Read More »
16 of 27 | Posted by: Ron Timmons - Fort Wayne, IN

“Thanks for being a good friend and mentor.For being one of the busiest people I known, you always made time. The world is a poorer place without you. ”
17 of 27 | Posted by: Tony and Beth Wolf - Ft Wayne, IN

“Dear: Joe Did you ever know you were my hero and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle because you were the wind beneath...Read More »
18 of 27 | Posted by: Tom Tonkel - Huntertown, IN

“LInda, Julie, Joe II, I'm so very sorry to hear this news. I only have fond memories of Joe Sr and your family. Joe Sr. was an absolute class act...Read More »
19 of 27 | Posted by: Dennis Monagle - Virginia Beach, VA

“Linda, Julie, and Joe --I was shocked and saddened to read of Joe's death yesterday. He was an exceptional man -- good husband, good father and...Read More »
20 of 27 | Posted by: Bev (Weinraub) Peters - IN

“http://youtu.be/-hASQH9EfQA ”
21 of 27 | Posted by: Tom Tonkel - Huntertown, IN

“I was very blessed to know Joe and Linda and my heart goes out to their family. Fort Wayne is a better place thanks to the Ruffolo's generous spirit...Read More »
22 of 27 | Posted by: Joanie Pauwels - Fort Myers,, FL

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Joe. I worked with Joe at North American Van Lines for 10 years. Unknown to him he was my mentor and the...Read More »
23 of 27 | Posted by: Tom Tonkel - Huntetown, IN

“Dear Linda and Family, So sad to hear of Joe's passing. He was such a nice, kind and gentle man. He leaves a great legacy with all he touched and...Read More »
24 of 27 | Posted by: Jennifer R. Bosk - Raleigh, NC

“Joe was an amazing man, he was extremely gifted and willing to share of his time and wisdom. He was interested in making money, but never greedy and...Read More »
25 of 27 | Posted by: Mike Bermes - Fort Wayne, IN

“I have very fond memories of Mr. Ruffolo when he visited his daughter Julie at DePauw and then years later in Fort Wayne during preparations for her...Read More »
26 of 27 | Posted by: Katie Pell Daniello - lewes, DE

“Joe Ruffolo was a great man who cared deeply about Fort Wayne. He gave selflessly of his time to help anyone who asked. He was a true community...Read More »
27 of 27 | Posted by: Joe Bockerstette - Fort Wayne, IN


JOSEPH D. RUFFOLO, 70, of Fort Wayne, passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011, at The Town House Retirement Center. Born May 9, 1941, in Kenosha, Wisc., he was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and of Harvard University's Advanced Management Program. Following graduation, he served as an intern in Washington, D.C. in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. He held various management positions at Reynolds Metals and at the Squibb Corporation prior to coming to Fort Wayne in 1974 to accept a senior management position at NorthAmerican, Inc., then owned by PepsiCo, Inc. and later by Norfolk Southern Corporation. In 1987, he became NorthAmerican's Chief Executive Officer and served as CEO until his retirement in 1993. He co-founded RuffoloBenson, LLC, a merchant banking company, with a mission "to regain and retain local ownership of regional companies." Among other things, RuffoloBenson has been instrumental in working to develop the necessary infrastructure and financial support to encourage local entrepreneurism , including the formation of the Main Street Venture Fund, one of the first entrepreneurial venture capital funds in the region, to invest in and help guide start-up companies and other entrepreneurial enterprises. He was also a co-founder and investor in Tower Financial Corporation and Tower Bank and was also an investor in and advisor to numerous regional companies and start up biomedical firms. He served on the board of directors of numerous privately owned companies, such as AWS, LLC, Beltmann Transportation Group, Inc., Dekalb Molded Plastics Company, Jack Laurie Flooring, Inc., Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne, Inc., and SaniServe, Inc. He also served on the board of directors of a number of public companies, including Steel Dynamics, Inc., where he served as Co-Chair of its Audit Committee, a member of its Compensation Committee and as the Board's Lead Director, and Tower Financial Corporation, Inc., where he served as Chair of the Compensation Committee. He also served on the board of directors of a number of not-for-profit organizations, such as the Henry Foundation, Steel Dynamics Foundation, and the Schwab Foundation, following its reorganization by the Indiana Attorney General. He was also active in the American Symphony Orchestra League, the American Movers Conference, the Parkview Health System and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. He chaired the Youth Violence Committee, a local effort to understand and deal with gang violence, served on many civic and governmental bodies, such as the Fort Wayne Allen County Transportation Committee, Allen County Tax Committee and the Safety Academy, and was appointed to the board of the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department and served as its Chair. He was also a member of St. Charles Catholic Church, the Business Forum and the Quest Club, and was a former member of the Anthony Wayne Rotary Club. As a community leader, he advocated the importance of inviting young people to serve on local boards and to get involved in community leadership and he pressed for changes in secondary education to better support the education and employment needs of a rapidly changing global economy. Prior to the remodeling of the Memorial Coliseum, he was involved in the efforts to build a new sports and entertainment complex in downtown Fort Wayne. In 1993, because of his well known expertise in the transportation business, he was called upon to assist in the privatization of government trucking companies in Russia, focusing on the breakup of government operated units and the creation of new privately held companies. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Linda L. Ruffolo; his daughter, Julie (Brian) Gilpin, of Whitefish Bay, Wisc., married to Brian Gilpin also from Fort Wayne; his two "pride and joy" grandsons, Jack and Luke Gilpin; and by his son, Joseph D. Ruffolo II of New York City. He is also survived and will be missed by many relatives, business colleagues and friends. He was preceded in death by both of his parents. By Joe's express wishes, there will be no public visitation or public funeral. His funeral service will be limited to a family only private Mass in Madison, Wisc. at the Campus Catholic Chapel of the University of Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, preferred memorials can be made to The Parkview Foundation, the Towne House in Fort Wayne or to the Joseph D. Ruffolo Memorial Scholarship Fund for the benefit of deserving students pursuing business and entrepreneurial careers, c/o Tower Bank, Att: David Fee, 116 East Berry Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802. Arrangements by D.O. McComb and Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home. To sign the online guest book, go to www.mccombandsons.com.