Philomena Gatti Ruff

From her youth when she skipped a few grades to her 70th birthday when she bought herself piano lessons, education was her lifelong pursuit. Philomena’s mind stayed sharp, her crosswords completed in ink. Later years found her travelling: cruises, bus trips and excursions back to the homeland of her parents, Italy. And even then, she was learning: defining her roots through genealogy. She came from the wooden spoon school of mothering but loosened up when the grands came along: spilled milk became just spilled milk; Philomena was meant to be a grandmother. Her kids never worried they might see someone else in the same outfit at school: Philomena was a wiz with a sewing machine. Maybe she missed her calling as a designer. A lover of the great crooners, she’d seen Sinatra at the Latin Casino, Elvis at the Spectrum. She darn near rolled a 300 on several occasions. You could hear her cheers from the left field stands, rooting for the Phils. Newborns of family and friends received one of her knitted Christmas stockings; they’re all still in use today.
The young, handsome Edward Ruff would spy the beauty at a Riverside football game. He wasn’t able to get her name on that day, but, lo and behold, she’d stroll into his workplace several days later. Some things were just meant to be. Their bosses knew they’d be a perfect match: Philomena eventually caved. More importantly, he quickly won over her mother. She and the late Edward were blessed with 4 children: Judith, Nancy, the late Edward and Robert (Tracey) and later with grandchildren, RJ, Rileigh and Jared. She was the sister of Effie, Angie, Nick, John, Eva, Ralph and Frank and was the daughter of Angelo and Rosalba Gatti.
Come celebrate 88 great years Saturday 8-10 a.m. at Sweeney Funeral Home, Riverside. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Parish, St. Peter’s Church. Interment St. Peter’s Cemetery. Donations to the Parkinson’s Foundation ( or Music and Memory (

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