Ruffin Birdgeforth, 74, of Midvale, went home to his Heavenly Father March 21, 1997.

He was born on March 18, 1923, in Melville, Louisiana the son of Ruffin, Sr. and Mary Adams Fips Bridgeforth. He married Helena Marie Romero on October 14, 1946, in Elko, NV. Their marriage was later solemnized on July 12, 1978 in the Salt Lake Temple. Helena preceded him in death in 1980. He later married Betty Johnson in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on June 6, 1981. He was an active member of the church since 1953. In 1971 he was called to be President of the Genesis Group, a fellowship group for black Latter-day Saints, by the first presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been set apart by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley. He served in that position for 25 years. After the revelation on the priesthood in 1978, Brother Ruffin was ordained by Elder Boyd K. Packer as the first black male to be ordained a High Priest. Ruffin has served on two stake high councils, and as first councilor in two bishoprics, and as high priests group leader. Ruffin was a loving father, devoted husband a loyal friend. He received the Ammon award for service to the church. He received an award of appreciation, presented by President Thomas S. Monson on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Genesis Group.He is survived by his wife Betty; sons, Jimmy (Linda) Bridgeforth of Detroit, Ronald and Richard Bridgeforth both of CA, daughter Stephanie (Timothy) Roberts of TX; Mary and Edith both of CA, stepdaughter Angela (Royal) Terry of Salt Lake City; 12 grandchildren, four great grandchildren; one brother, Roy (Madeline) Bridgeforth of Boston; one sister, Thelma Fips of TX; cousins, Lester B. Adams of Chicago and Ruby Jean Waites of Philadelplhia.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Helena, daughter, Carol, a grandson, Reagan, and a sister, Juanita. Ruffin was loved by so many and will never be forgotten.

Funeral services will be conducted Wednesday, March 26, 1997 at 12 noon at the Sandy Utah Midvalley Stake Center 1106 E. 8055 S. Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday evening at the Midvalley 3rd Ward 7500 S. 700 E., and one hour prior to the services Wednesday at the Stake Center. Interment will follow services at Redwood Memorial Estates Cemetery 6500 S. Redwood Rd.

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