Repair shop was for more than just TVs

Television repair wasn’t the only thing going on at Ruffin TV Service, located in the West End.

It was a neighborhood meeting place for many Jehovah’s Witnesses in the metro Atlanta area, which was just fine with the shop’s owner Grover Ruffin.

“He loved a good spiritual conversation,” said Charles L. Dansby, a friend of 40 years. “There were a lot of meetings of the heart and mind at that shop, maybe more than TV repair.”

Grover Ruffin, 88, of Atlanta, died Saturday at A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab, Atlanta. The cause of death is unknown, the family said. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at The Kingdom Hall, 1891 Fairburn Rd, Atlanta. Herschel Thornton Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.

Whether you had something for him to fix or not, Mr. Ruffin greeted everyone with a smile, Mr. Dansby said.

“He was generous with everyone, especially his family,” Mr. Dansby recalled.

A former radar technician in World War II, Mr. Ruffin developed a love for electronic repair. Soon after his return to the states, Mr. Ruffin got married, started a family and used his G.I. Bill to enroll in Midway Television Institute, said his son Jerome Ruffin, of Atlanta, who currently runs the family business.

To support his wife and five children, Mr. Ruffin also worked for 23 years at the United States Postal Service, but still repaired TVs on the side.

“He never stopped working on electronics,” his son said. “It was his true passion.”

The repair shop was a family affair, a place where children and grandchildren spent time. Niquetta Gilbert, of Savannah, remembered her grandfather as a "hands on kind of man."

"And I got that from him, I like to take things apart and try to put them back together again," she said. “When I was 8 or 9 years old, I would help him around the shop. That was  fun to me."

She said that time with her grandfather helped her appreciate physics and math, which she studied in college.

Ruffin TV Service was also more than a gathering spot, it was a landmark, his family said. In 1973 Mr. Ruffin and the shop were featured in a commercial advertising RCA’s XL-100 television.

“I’d get calls from people asking, ‘Is that your dad on TV?’” said Raymond Ruffin, of Decatur. “And I’d laugh and say, “Yes, that’s him.’ It was a fun time.”

The elder Ruffin retired from the business in 2007, but never stopped asking his son if he’d “found any good help.”

“He had dementia, and he couldn’t remember what he’d eaten for breakfast,” Jerome Ruffin said. “But he always remembered to ask me if I’d found some help.”

Additional survivors include, his wife of 68 years, Ruby Bryant Ruffin of Atlanta; daughter, Riquetta Carr of Austell; sons, Charles Reeves of Atlanta and Grover Joseph Ruffin of Atlanta and 12 other grandchildren.