Distinguished Taft College professor emeritus passes at age 93
John Raymond Tufft passed from this life on Saturday, August 31st at home with his two daughters and their two devoted dogs by his side. He was the loving husband of Ruth Francis (Baer) Tufft who, after 62 years of life together, preceded him in death in 2007.
John, 93 years old, was born in Vallejo, California, on July 11, 1920. John was the third of five sons born to Arthur and Elizabeth Tufft of San Francisco. After completing his undergraduate education with a degree in history from U.C., Berkeley, John attended Princeton Seminary where he would sometimes sit on a bench to visit with Albert Einstein. After graduation he was commissioned as a Naval officer and chaplain. He earned a Th.M. at the Biblical Seminary in New York. He married Ruth Francis Baer in 1945 before receiving his overseas orders, and served in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, John and Ruth lived in several places, including Edinburgh, Scotland, where he received his Ph.D., and his daughter, Beth, was born. Anne was born 2 years later in Southern California. When John was called up to serve in Korea, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Hope, a naval hospital ship. John founded several Presbyterian churches in Southern California. He taught at Santa Ana City College part-time before making teaching his full-time vocation, turning to his favorite subject, history, at Taft College, where he finished his career as a college administrator. Upon retirement, he was bestowed the honorary title 'Professor Emeritus.'
John was a man of many interests and talents. He was an avid reader of non-fiction. He liked to fish and enjoyed wood working. He grew and hybridized prize-winning orchids. In his retirement, he became a nationally-recognized bird carver. He is remembered for his humor and kindness.
He and Ruth enjoyed traveling with friends and playing golf. They built a cabin at Pine Mountain Club, where they moved after retirement while they traveled in their trailer. They moved to Hemet in 1988 where they were active with golf and other activities, finally settling at Emerald Court Senior Living Community in Anaheim in 2002.
John will be greatly missed by his two daughters, Beth Huning of Woodacre, Anne Tufft-Miller and her husband Jerry Miller of Long Beach, and by his remaining brother, Ernest Tufft, of Vacaville and is lovingly remembered by his 2 remaining sister-in-laws, 8 nieces and 2 nephews, as well as Ruth's family members.
A memorial tribute will be held at Emerald Court in Anaheim September 22 at 1:30 p.m. where he lived. A private memorial and internment will be at the National Cemetery in Riverside on October 25th.