I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7
Mary Elizabeth Melton "Connie" Ruffin was born February 3, 1927 after her parents, the late James Edward and Mary Melton relocated to Stony Creek, Virginia from Louisburg, North Carolina. She and her seven siblings whom have preceded her in death (Rosa, William, Edna, James Edward, Jr., Robert Clark, Lillie, and Nellie) worked and lived on the 100 acres farm purchased by their parents.
Mary attended the one-room segregated Hunting Quarter Elementary School and segregated Sussex Training School. She "fudged” her birthdate so she could obtain a driving license to drive her and Edna to high school because the bus wasn't allowed to cross over highway 35 to pick up black students. After school in the evenings she assisted her father with income tax preparations for farmers and she continued that service after her dad’s passing. Mary and her dad also gave instructions to neighborhood citizens on registering to vote and Mary worked as an election pollster for over 40 years. She was ecstatic to work the election polls in 2008 when President Obama won as the first African American President.
Mary met the late Clarence A. Ruffin and married him where they made their residence in Stony Creek and lived for 35 years until his passing in 1985. She continued to live there until April 4, 2014 and then relocating to Owings Mills, Maryland due to illness. She reluctantly left her beloved The Hunting Quarter Baptist Church. Mary served on the Usher Board where she was president for more than 30 years. She was also on the Deaconess Board and a member of the Missionary Circle, Women’s Ministry, Sunday School, Bible Study, and Bethany Baptist Association. Mary served as a mentor to many young members. She was at The Hunting Quarter Baptist Church for every meeting, revival and program.
Mary made her career working in alterations at the Stony Creek Cleaners for 40 plus years with owners Ralph and Viola Shands. After retirement, she did alterations for a few select friends. Retirement allowed her to join the Senior Center located in Jarrett, Virginia where she met new friends and did several projects which were Christmas gifts to family members. She was involved in the initial organization of the Stony Creek Volunteer Rescue Squad. She studied hard to be certified to work on the rescue squad and volunteered on Mondays. She was a member of the Eastern Star Organization, Central High School PTA, and an original member of the Stony Creek Social Club with her husband.
After relocating to Maryland she was in church every Sunday either at The Village Baptist Church, Mount Mariah Baptist or Falls Road AME. She attended the Baltimore County Senior Center/Randallstown, Maryland where she met new friends and her projects continued. Aunt Constance as she was called by her nieces and nephews found comfort eventually in Maryland because nieces Shirley Rogers, Edna Lancaster and Mary Alma Daniels gave her additional support and love. Mary transitioned on March 20, 2021 in Forest Haven Nursing Home, where she was spoiled and comforted by Beatrice Purdie, Shawniece Foster and Martha Wilkins.
Mary is survived by daughter Patricia (Will/deceased), son Joseph (Isetta), three grandchildren (Katrina, Marlon (Tammy) and Joseph, Jr., four great grandchildren, Davon, Amber, Sherrod and Nathan; three goddaughters Marlesha Coston, Barbara Jackson Elder and Carolyn Harvell. She leaves several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends behind as she joins family with her heavenly Father.
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