Published 1:36 pm Thursday, January 21, 2021
Herbert Ruffin, a resident of Farmville, passed away on Jan. 12. Herbert moved to Farmville in 2010, joining his family Ada Clark, Melvin Clark and James Clark. Herbert had retired from the industry-fixture Boston Flower Exchange after 35 years in the florist industry, the first African American to hold a supervisor position in the area’s wholesale florist business. He was well known and beloved. Born in Windsor, North Carolina on Oct. 25, 1934 to Curliew Walton and raised by loving his grandmother Louvina Ruffin Clark. Herbert moved from North Carolina to Boston in 1948. In 1956, at age 24, he met Hilda Ruffin, and they later married, during which time the couple raised Douglas Ruffin (1958-2016), Mark Ruffin and Doreen Sims (Ruffin) in their house located in Mattapan, a district in Boston. Herb was an avid sports player. He coached semi-pro award-winning basketball teams while he seasonally played in local leagues for basketball and fast-pitch softball. Herbert moved up his participation as an umpire, referee and coach among these leagues. Within his sports family, Herb was known as Ruff and was well respected for his knowledge of the games and his dedication to these sports. Outside of the sports circle, in a pair of separate articles with his family, Hilda and kids, the Ruffins were featured in two independent newspapers regarding middle class families and education. He also sat down once with Malcolm X, discussing the state of affairs during the 1960s. Herbert Ruffin is survived by his wife, Hilda Ruffin; son, Mark Ruffin; daughter, Doreen Sims (Ruffin) and Doreen’s daughter, Herb’s granddaughter, Isabella Hunter-Sweeney. From his previous marriage to Rachel Ruffin, Herbert is survived by his eldest sons, Herbert Ruffin Jr. and Nathaniel Ruffin. Herb is also survived by his aunt, Catherine Barrows, Catherine’s daughter June Barrows, cousin James Clark and three special young women who joined Herb’s and Hilda’s family in Mattapan, Cleata Brown, Junie Jeanniton and Martine Jeanniton.