Charles William Rufty

Charles William Rufty

SALISBURY - Mr. Charles William Rufty, 85, of Salisbury, passed away on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 at his home surrounded by his family.

Charles was born July 17, 1928, the youngest of 12 children to the late O.O. Rufty and Nanny Mary Lizer Lemly Rufty. Charles was a 1945 graduate of Boyden High School and he worked for his father at O.O. Rufty's General Store before and after school as well as on Saturdays.

After graduation, Charles continued to work for his father and with his brothers at the General Store. Charles also did repairs on the family rental properties. During this time, Charles mastered plumbing, carpentry, electrical, and masonry work. At the age of 25, Charles and his brother, Harold, spent several months near Asheville building their family vacation home, Rufty's Lak-Vu, at Lutheridge. His family continues to use this vacation home that was built with much love.

A self-taught plumber, Charles earned his N.C. Plumbing License in 1956 and kept his license for 46 years. He opened and operated Rufty Plumbing Company for 10 years when he decided to move from service work to a supply house format - opening Southeastern Plumbing Supply at 234 North Main Street. He operated at this location for 25 years, then moved the business to its current location at 531 South Main Street in 1989. In 1995, Charles opened City Consignment Company at 419 South Main Street. Charles worked at Southeastern Plumbing Supply until his retirement, having been a mentor to three generations of Rowan County plumbers. In all of his years, he never asked someone to do a job that he himself had not or would not do himself. His daughters and sons-in-law still operate these two businesses. Charles took pride in being a hard worker and often said that 'Hard work is a good thing...positive things come from a strong work ethic'.

On July 30, 1950, Charles married the former Jean Spake at St. John's Lutheran Church in Salisbury. After their children were in school, Jean joined Charles in the family business where they worked together until their retirement. As a team, Charles and Jean were a wonderful example of love, sharing, and acceptance. They provided the rock and foundation for their whole family.

Charles was a deeply religious man who was a lifelong member of St. John's Lutheran Church, Salisbury. Over the years, he served on the Church Council, attended the Fisher-Cox Sunday School Class, was key in planning, organizing and creating the original Archives Room, was a member of the Stewardship Committee, and a head usher. In the mid-1950's, Charles organized a local Plumbers Association to allow Rowan County plumbers to join together for the betterment of the profession. He was a member of the Salisbury Elks Lodge for many years. He was active in the AT Allen Elementary, Knox Junior High, and Boyden/Salisbury High PTAs. He also served on the Boyden/SHS Athletic Complex Committee. He attended all of his daughters extracurricular activities and more dance recitals than anyone should have to ever attend.....and he never complained.

Predeceasing him in death are his parents and 11 siblings: Helen Holsclaw, Thomas Rufty, Florence Sifford, Addie Rufty, Oliver Rufty, Raymond Rufty, Ernest Rufty, Virginia Deal, Fred Rufty, Ruth Patterson, and Harold Rufty.

Charles is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Jean Spake Rufty. Also surviving are his five adoring daughters: Tzena (Charles) Wicker, Lisa (Ray Pope) Wear, Sheila (fiancee Raymond Stowers) Hazlett, Lorna (Barry, Sr.) Medinger, and Sabrina (Mark Lawyer) Rufty of Rockville, Md.

Surviving in addition are his 9 loving grandchildren: Johnny (Brittany) Wear, Lauren Wicker, Barry (Brooke) Medinger, Jr. of High Point, NC, Brandon Hazlett of Oahu, HI, Nick Medinger, Sydney Roberson of Rockville, MD, Duke (Melinda) Wicker, Elizabeth Wear, and Liza (Jayme) Broeckling.

His surviving great-grandchildren are William and Jackson Wear, Isabel and Annabell Melton, and Aria Broeckling. Also a dear 'son', Chris Crane.

He is also survived by two sisters-in-law: Barbara Rufty and Nancy (Sonny) Lippard; brother-in-law Bill (Mary) Spake of Chattanooga, Tenn., and numerous nieces and nephews.

Charles loved watching Cowboy Westerns and World War II movies/documentaries on TV. He enjoyed time spent at his family vacation home in the mountains, family beach trips, and traveling the United States and the world. But most of all, he enjoyed being at home with a house full of family and friends. He often commented that, 'Life is short, so you need to have all the good, clean fun that you can'. Kind, generous, compassionate and loving, a finer man has never walked this Earth.

Visitation and Services: Visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 at Summersett Funeral Home.

The Service will be held at St. John's Lutheran Church at 12 noon on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at St. John's Lutheran Church, Salisbury, conducted by Rev. Rhodes Wooley and Rev. David Nelson. Burial will follow at City Memorial Park.

Memorials: Memorials may be made to St. John's Lutheran Church, 200 West Innes Street, Salisbury, NC 28144 or Rowan Hospice & Palliative Care, 720 Grove Street, Salisbury, NC 28144 or Lutheridge, 2049 Upper Laurel Drive, Arden, NC 28704.

Summersett Funeral Home is serving the Rufty family. Online condolences may be made at

Special thanks to Dr. William Brinkley and his Staff and to Rowan Hospice and Palliative Care.

Funeral Home

Summersett Funeral Home, Inc. & Cremation Center - Salisbury
1315 West Innes Street  Salisbury, NC 28144
(704) 633-2111

Published in Salisbury Post on Dec. 8, 2013