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Rev. Msgr. James L. Ruef

Deceased: 2015-01-12


CSM Graduation Year: 1985

Monsignor James Le’Roy Tonkinson Ruef passed from this life on January 12, 2015. Born the second son of William Henry Ruef and Anna Marie Tonkinson on April 28, 1939, in Springfield, Ohio, Monsignor is preceded in death by his loving parents, and many dear family members and friends. He attended Kenwood Primary School, Hayward, and Shafer Junior High Schools and graduated from Springfield High School in 1957. Monsignor graduated from Ohio Northern University in 1961 with a B.A. in Theatre. He received an M.A. in Theatre from Indiana University in 1963. While teaching as a faculty member in the Department of Theatre at Ohio Northern, Monsignor attended law school and graduated from Ohio Northern University Petit College of Law in 1967 with a J.D. He practiced law in Mansfield, Ohio and in 1971 joined the staff of Ohio Attorney General William J. Brown as his Personal Assistant. Monsignor departed the Attorney General’s Office in August, 1975 to study theology at the Franciscan Centre, Canterbury, England and the Pontifical College Josephinum. Monsignor was ordained to the priesthood at Saint Joseph Cathedral on June 3, 1978, by Bishop Edward J. Hermann. Ordained a Transitional Deacon in December of 1977, Monsignor was assigned to the Diocesan Tribunal and served for 37 years as Defender of the Bond, Diocesan Judge, and 20 years as Judicial Vicar. Monsignor’s pastoral assignments were a Diaconate year at St. Matthew the Apostle Parish (Gahanna) from 1977-1978; Associate Pastor of Saint Catharine of Siena Parish (Columbus) from 1978-1982; resident priest at St. Matthias Parish (Columbus) in 1985, and St. Joseph Cathedral (Columbus) from 1985-1991; and Pastor of Holy Name Parish (Columbus) from 1992-2009. In 1982, Bishop Edward J. Herrmann asked Monsignor to study Canon Law in Rome. He graduated from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) Summa Cum Laude in 1985. Monsignor was admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio and all inferior Ohio courts. He was past member of the Ohio Bar Association, a member of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Canon Law Society of America, Midwest Canon Law Society, and Saint Thomas More Society; Msgr Ruef was a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Pope John Paul II named Monsignor a Chaplain of His Holiness (Monsignor) in 1992. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree by the Ohio Northern University in 2009. In retirement, Monsignor has remained active as a priest at Saint Catharine of Siena and Our Lady of Peace parishes. At the request of Bishop Frederick F. Campbell, he continued for many years as Judicial Vicar. Monsignor is most thankful to God, his parents and family, schools, teachers, mentors, friends and staff for the many graces he received in life. He is deeply appreciative of all his diverse careers, but most especially, for the gift of priesthood and the opportunity to serve God and His Holy People. His brother Leland Carroll Ruef of Columbia, South Carolina, and many cousins and dear friends, especially his adoptive family, the Donald and Violet Allwein family of Columbus, survive Monsignor. Msgr. Ruef will lie in state Sunday, January 18, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., at Saint Catharine of Siena Church, 500 South Gould Road, Columbus, and Monday, January 19, 9:30 a.m., until just prior to the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. Bishop Frederick F. Campbell will celebrate the Mass, retired Bishop James A. Griffin will concelebrate as will priests of the Diocese of Columbus; Fr. Daniel Millisor will deliver the homily; burial will be at Saint Joseph Cemetery. It was Msgr. Ruef’s expressed desire that in lieu of any flowers, donations be made to the Long-Term Care Needs for Priests Fund at the Catholic Foundation, 257 East Broad Street, Columbus, 43215.