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Friday, October 12, 2001

Freedom Forum's Nate Ruffin dies

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Nate Ruffin, 51, vice president/community relations at The Freedom Forum, died on Oct. 2 after a long illness.

"Nate was a valued member of our staff and a talented and courageous man. We will miss him greatly," said Charles L. Overby, chairman and chief executive officer of The Freedom Forum.

Ruffin, a resident of Vienna, Va., joined The Freedom Forum in 1997 and previously served there as vice president/human resources, with responsibility for personnel policy and employee benefits. Earlier he worked for twelve years as director of personnel policy at Gannett Co. He won four president's and four chairman's rings for his accomplishments at Gannett, an award representing top performance by a department head. Before joining Gannett, Ruffin was manager of personnel for ACF Industries, the largest builder of railroad cars for lease in the United States.

He served as an adviser for the NAACP and Urban League of Baltimore, a board member of Arlington County (Va.) United Way and a deacon at First Baptist Church in Vienna, Va.

Ruffin is a graduate of Marshall University in Huntington, W. Va. He was a defensive back and co-captain of the Marshall football team in 1970, when a plane carrying team members, coaches, community leaders and others crashed on a return flight from North Carolina. Ruffin had an arm injury and was supposed to make the trip, but at the last minute was told that someone else would take his place on the plane. He helped identify bodies from the crash and notify relatives of the passengers. In April, 2001, as Ruffin was fighting cancer, Marshall's Black Alumni Inc. sponsored a drive for bone marrow donors for him.

Ruffin is survived by his wife, Sharon, three children, Carmen, Shante and Ryan and grandchild Reginald.

Contact: Donna Fowler