Cover photo for Mark Edward Ruffin's Obituary
Mark Edward Ruffin Profile Photo

Mark Edward Ruffin

August 27, 1962 — February 27, 2021

Mark Edward Ruffin

August 27, 1962 - February 27, 2021 Mark Edward Ruffin was born in Oklahoma City at Saint Anthony Hospital, blocks from his childhood home in the same neighborhood he would later return as an adult to raise his family and leave a lasting impression. The son of Dr. Joseph and Vestina Ruffin, Mark enjoyed an active childhood as one of six kids, mostly keeping up with his rambunctious older brothers and younger sister. As the fifth of six children, Mark's father labeled all the kids #1, hence Mark was #1 - #5, an affectionate way he always signed off cards to his parents. Childhood memories were filled with neighborhood friends, playing sports, swimming, wrestling with his brothers and the occasional family road trip in the VW van. Mark and his siblings found appreciation in art over the years thanks to their parents' required gallery outings after Sunday mass. This was met with much resistance, yet brunch eased the pain. A fond adult memory are two fly fishing trips to Argentina. Although Mark wasn't an angler, this was great bonding with friends and his brother, Rick. He attended Wilson Elementary, Bishop John Carroll and was a 1980 graduate of Bishop McGuinness, all schools where he developed lifelong friendships. Mark matriculated at Cardinal Newman College in St. Louis, enrollment of 120, where he thrived and engaged in a world of learning, critical thinking and became a voracious reader. Majoring in Business and Philosophy, he served as yearbook editor, cafeteria line cook, and was delighted to be part of the basketball team. He was proud to assume the title of Cardinal Newman's all-time leading scorer, "a record never to be broken". In his typical humor he would then offer that the basketball program was disbanded shortly after he graduated. Mark returned to Oklahoma City without a clear plan, but discovered an interest in real estate. He joined Henderson Properties and dabbled in real estate on the side, helping his parents manage their various properties in what is now the Midtown/Uptown districts. They encouraged him as he took on new challenges and ventures. Mark formed a partnership with friend Nick Preftakes and in 1995 they developed the first loft apartment style complex, The Garage Lofts, at the Norton-Johnson building at NW 13th and Robinson. This was the beginning of many pioneering renovations of older buildings in the downtown area. PRECOR RUFFIN was Mark's second home, forming lasting business relationships and genuine friendships. Around 1994 JAR Group, LLC (Jones, Able, Ruffin) was established and this was the beginning of a long friendship between Mark, Bob Jones and Ed Able. This entity developed commercial buildings near the Airport, mobile home parks, an apartment complex, as well as ownership of the downtown Grain Elevator with office space and a climbing wall. Mark would go on to become a highly successful residential and commercial developer whose projects improved the city he loved. One of Mark's trademark qualities was his ability to connect with people, and connect people with each other in ways that had a positive impact for all involved. Mark's walk with faith led him to serve with integrity, humility and a smile. His efforts in the community reached far and wide, most notably his extensive work with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. His efforts included securing real estate sites for Catholic Charities, the Blessed Stanley Rother Shrine and Cristo Rey School. He was humbled to receive the 2018 JFK Community Service Award, presented by the Santa Fe Family Life Center, another important organization in his life. Mark was the epitome of giving his time, talent and treasure in every way. An active member of the Cathedral of our Lady of Perpetual Help, he was instrumental in the 2019 renovation of the church. Mark enjoyed success in his business ventures, but his greatest joy and accomplishment was his family. He married Manda on June 4, 1994, their 26 year marriage a model of exemplary love and devotion. Blessed with four children, Reina (21), Aubrey (18), David (14) and J. J.(10), Mark beamed with pride when talking about his wife and kids. Fond family memories were Saturday mornings at Brown's Bakery, lake rides in the Sprinter van, Sunday Mass followed by outings to Shartel Cafe or Bagel Cafe, ski trips to Breckenridge and their always adventurous summer vacations where Manda was the "road warrior" and could drive countless hours. He made us laugh with his quick wit and we all know Mark never met a stranger. Always one step ahead at Chick-Fil-A saying "my pleasure" before the employee could; he loved to gauge a person's reaction when he was asked "How are you?", to his reply of "marginal" or "average" in his amusing tone. A proud member of #ruffinofamilyclan Mark was the ultimate son, brother, husband, father, and achieved high ranking favorite uncle status. He was our rock for the extended Ruffin(o) family: funny, compassionate and calm. He was our favorite of the "Big Fellas". Beloved by family, friends and so many in the OKC community, Mark's untimely departure leaves a huge void. A well-known Mark-ism familiar to his children as they left for school, is "Reach your full potential!" Mark did just that, and so much more. Mark is preceded in death by his parents, Vestina and Joe, brothers, Joe and Carlos, and Joe's wife Maria Elena. He is survived by his wife Manda, children Reina, Aubrey, David and John James (J.J.); brother Mykl and wife Susan, brother Rick and wife Patty, sister Lisa and husband Bentley Edmonds, sisters-in law Gayle Ruffin and Delinda Ruffino Lynn, Lindsey and Bill Small, Lisa and John Mathes, Lorie and Terry Herth, and loads of adoring nieces and nephews. The family is eternally grateful for the abundance of support and prayers through Mark's illness. A very special thank you to Mercy hospital and Integris hospital for their compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following: Our Lady's Cathedral, Bishop McGuinness High School, Cristo Rey School, Positive Tomorrows. A private Funeral Mass will be held for the family. A Celebration of Life will be open to the public at Scissortail Park on Saturday, March 6, starting promptly at 3pm. Feel free to bring blankets or chairs, masks are required please.
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Public Celebration of Life

Saturday, March 6, 2021

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