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Dinniman Honors Ruffini, Founder of West Grove Memorial Day Parade
WEST GROVE (June 13, 2019) – Domenico Ruffini, an Italian immigrant who came to this country in pursuit of the American Dream and rose to be a respected member of the West Grove business and professional community, was recently honored by state Senator Andy Dinniman and others.
“Mr. Ruffini has given decades of service to this community and the impact of his work and contributions will not soon be forgotten,” Dinniman said. “In turn, we have a responsibility to recognize him and his family for all they have done for West Grove and the surrounding area.”
Dinniman recently visited the Ruffini and his family to present him with a special Senate citation in recognition of his contributions to the community, as well as a new Pennsylvania State flag to be flown at the Avon Grove Veterans’ Memorial Plaza. He was joined by borough officials, including Council President Mark Johnson, Council Vice President Chip Freese, Councilman Mike Ranieri, Mayor Stephen Black. and Borough Manager Greg McCummings.
Ruffini initiated the idea for the Avon Grove Veterans’ Memorial Plaza., located at the corner of East Evergreen Street and Exchange Place, the former site of the Roselyn Movie Theatre.
Along with two other men, Mike Bove and Ron Edington, Ruffini formed a special committee to organize the project, including obtaining necessary borough approvals and raising more than $100,000 for its completion.
In addition, the committee, with Ruffini as chair, organized the annual Avon Grove Memorial Day Parade and ceremony. That community event, honoring those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, has been held every year since the plaza was completed in 1998. Ruffini attended each year and led the wreath-laying ceremony until health issues prevented his participation this year. His son, John, now serves as Avon Grove Memorial Committee chair.
Born in 1927 in Musellaro, Italy, Ruffini was the eldest of five siblings in a family that farmed grapes and wine. At 18, he left to support his family by working the coal mines of Belgium. Later, he pursued careers in Canada in both construction and a shoe factory. It was there that he met and fell in love with his wife, Lillian. They married in 1953 and together built a family of three children and four grandchildren.
After moving to West Grove, Ruffini worked in a General Motors Assembly Plant before becoming interested in starting his own barbershop. He attended barber school in Philadelphia and obtained his license in 1958. The following year he started barbering and within 5 years had built his own business, Ruffini’s Barber Shop, which is still operating today. According to relatives, Ruffini had a special gift for bringing people together and the shop serves as a community meeting place.
In the 1980s, he was elected to West Grove Borough Council where he served the community for more than 20 years.