Howard J. Ruff Prominent Author, Financial Advisor, and Commentator Dies at 85

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( — November 17, 2016) — American Fork, UT — The founder of one of the largest financial newsletters and a pioneer in delivering sage financial advice, Howard J. Ruff, died, Sunday, November 12, at 85.

The best-selling author and advisor is survived by his wife, Kay, and by 13 of their 14 children (9 biological, 5 adopted), 79 grandchildren and 48 great-grandchildren.

Widely known for his book, How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years, an influential New York Times bestseller that sold more than 3 million copies, Ruff also authored many other books on financial and political issues.  He predicted the rise of inflation in the mid-‘70s and early ‘80s and was the original “Gold Bug,” promoting investments in precious metals.  His famous quote, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark,” encouraged many to be better prepared for the future.

Hundreds of thousands of subscribers gravitated to his financial newsletter, The Ruff Times, where they found Ruff’s simple explanations for some of the most complex financial principles. As Ruff liked to say, he wrote for “Main Street” not “Wall Street.” 

Ruff had his own syndicated TV show, Ruff Hou$e, where he interviewed leaders and , including Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush. He was also a featured guest on hundreds of radio and television shows, including Good Morning AmericaThe Today ShowDonahueRegis and Kathy LeeCrossfireNightlineOprah, and more. 

To promote free market policies and candidates. Ruff co-founded an influential political organization called “Free the Eagle.” Through Free the Eagle, he helped convince President Ronald Reagan to get Stinger missiles to the Afghan freedom fighters. This led to the eventual withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan and, ultimately, to the fall of the Iron Curtain. 

Ruff started many successful companies. He was a self-made millionaire. Twice. He lost it all. Twice. He claimed he learned more from his failures than from his successes. He wasn’t afraid to take risks, saying, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich was better.” 

Ruff was no stranger to hardship. His father died tragically when he was just four months old. He was raised by his mother, who worked as a seamstress to support Ruff and his older brother, Jim. 

Also a gifted musician with a great passion for music, Ruff toured the world in the 1950s, performing as a baritone soloist and announcer with the Air Force band and Singing Sergeants.  Later he was a guest soloist with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as well as the Philadelphia Orchestra and National Symphony. One of his most treasured accomplishments was recording his album Howard Ruff Sings in the early 1980s. The album featured the Osmond Brothers and the BYU Philharmonic and A Capella Choir as backup. (To listen to songs from his album, visit

A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ruff came from pioneer stock. At age 18, he served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in the Eastern United States. He would often say, “I’m a practicing Mormon, and I’m going to keep practicing until I get it right!”

Ruff is known for his dry sense of humor and inexhaustible telling of stories, jokes, and one-liners. For example, he credited the success of his marriage to the fact that “they were both in love with the same man;” and he asked his children to put “I told you I was sick” on his gravestone. 

Of his many accomplishments, Ruff cherished most his role as a husband, father, and grandfather. He and Kay were married for 61 years. In addition to raising their biological children, the Ruffs brought dozens of teenagers into their home for days, weeks, months, or sometimes even years.

The funeral will be held Monday, November 21, at 11 a.m. at the LDS American Fork East Stake Center, located at 825 East 500 North, American Fork, Utah. There will be a viewing on Sunday, November 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wing Mortuary 118 East Main Street, Lehi, Utah, and again at the LDS Stake Center the morning of the funeral from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. 

To learn more about Howard Ruff, or to send messages and personal memories to the family, visit Ruff was a strong supporter of Family Watch International (FWI) and the family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to FWI through the website.

Contact Cecily Condie-480-444-6590