Gladys M. Ruffin was born on April 21, 1936, and peacefully passed away on December 15, 2020.
The marriage union of Peter and Penny (Turner) Asberry brought forth Gladys M. Asberry on April 21, 1936. One of nine children, she was their youngest. She was born in Faunsdale, Alabama, where she worked in the cotton fields from the age of five to twelve.
When she was a little girl, she remembered looking up from the cotton fields of Alabama. The fields were taller than her. In the distance, she heard a man ask her father, “How old is that little girl? She is leading the cotton pickers and showing them how to pick cotton without cutting their hands on the prickly ends of the cotton bushes.” Her father replied, “That is Gladys. She’s five. This is a memory that she often talked about.
When Gladys was young, the church practiced a mourner’s bench tradition, where you pray for days or weeks until you felt the spirit of God enter your body. Young Christians had to sit on the front bench of the church until they felt the spirit. After praying and fasting for two weeks, Gladys said she saw her hands and feet glow and felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit. This was her spiritual birth which took place in April at the age of nine.
Gladys was baptized at the age of nine by Rev. William Moten at the Little Zion Baptist Church. At this time, she started her religious journey. She moved to Cleveland, Ohio with her parents at the age of twelve and attended the Cleveland public school system.
Gladys worked as a domestic worker, dietary aid, and later, a nurse’s aide at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the nursing department. She became a surgical nurse assistant at the hospital until she eventually retired.
On November 22, 1952, Gladys married Jesse J. Ruffin Sr. This union brought forth five children: Jesse J. Ruffin Jr., Reynold Ruffin, Gladys Ruffin, Julia Ruffin, and Jonathan Ruffin.
Both Gladys’ spiritual and physical birth took place during the month of April, and she founded Family Day which we celebrate during the week of her birthday every year. The family will continue this practice.
Mother Ruffin was a Christian woman who worked diligently in her church. She was an evangelist who would teach God’s word to whomever would listen. When Gladys moved to Cleveland, Ohio, she was a member of the Greater Friendship Baptist Church where Rev. C.T. Nelson was the pastor. Later, the family moved to their new home in Oakwood Village, and she joined the Mt. Zion of Oakwood Village where she became a missionary and the President of the Mothers’ Board. At the time of her homegoing, she was a member of the Mothers’ Board as an advisor at Rome Missionary Baptist Church of Oakwood Village, Ohio where Rev. Claudie Williams Jr. is the pastor.
Mother Ruffin was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend. She would prepare the best meals with loving care, and she was a friend to all who knew her. The loving wife of the late Deacon Jesse J. Ruffin, Sr.
Left to cherish Gladys M. Ruffin’s memory are her children: Deacon Jesse J. Ruffin Jr. (Carolyn, deceased), Reynold Ruffin (Diane), Gladys M. Erkard (deceased) (James), Dr. Julia Ruffin, and Jonathan Ruffin (Laura, deceased); nine grandchildren, Carmen M. Ruffin, Tosha M. Anderson (Dwayne), Jesse J. Ruffin III (Carole), Nicole C. Bowman, James T. Erkard III, Gabriel J. Erkard, Christina M. Ruffin, and Mariah G. Ruffin; 13 great grandchildren: Jaia N. Ruffin, Tristen T. Williams’ Ruffin, Shiek Anderson, Sean M. Ruffin, Naomi Z. Ruffin, Uriah J. Ruffin, Selah F. Ruffin, Hannah G. Ruffin , Sophia G. Ruffin, Jaron C. Bowman, Miracale J. Sandifer, Miriyha A. Sandifer, Tyrone A. Sandifer Jr.; siblings: Julia A. Berry (Tommy),William Asberry (Estella) (deceased), Roosevelt Asberry (Rosalyn) (deceased), Deacon Golden Asberry (Jennie Mae) (deceased), Lyria Walters (Jimmy) (deceased), Eddie Asberry (Lillian) (deceased), Austin W. Asberry (deceased), Elfonzia Asberry (Minnie) (deceased), and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Gladys will truly be missed by all who loved her. Being in her presence was always a pleasant spiritual experience. We believe that there is another angel in heaven today.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gladys M. Ruffin, please visit our floral store.