Josh Ruff, 23, began working at David Girard Winery on June 1, 2011. It was an accident there that led to his death on Wednesday.
“We all loved Josh, each and every one of us,” winery owner David Girard said. “We’re devastated …. We’re in shock.”
Ruff, an assistant winemaker at the winery, had been working when the accident happened. “Another employee heard a crash, responded, and saw his right leg pinned underneath a hopper,” said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Becker. A hopper is a piece of equipment used to receive and direct material to a conveyor. As was earlier reported, CPR was conducted on-scene and he was later flown by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Becker said.
Ruff, who attended California State University, Long Beach, was known for being on Oak Ridge High School’s track and field team, where, after graduating in 2007, he would later become an assistant coach. He continued to run as a hobby.
“I have so many happy memories with you,” wrote Danielle Domenichelli on Ruff’s Facebook Wall. “You’ve always had a smile on your face, kindness in your heart and a little smirk of a laugh that was contagious. It was just a few weeks ago that we ran 13 miles around Lake Natoma and talked about getting back into racing. I was excited to watch us both pursue our passion and I will have you in my thoughts as I toe the starting line this fall. Thank you for all the great memories and days out on the trails.”
“I’m really going to miss you buddy,” added Scott Crawford to the Wall. “Would trade anything for one more lap around Natomas, but I guess I’ll have to wait. Thanks for everything. Love you and every memory you left me.”
Ruff had recently had his bachelor party, and was just three weeks shy of his wedding to fiancee Rachel Manasse of Redondo Beach. Manasse also attended CSU Long Beach, where she played tennis.
As news of the accident began to spread late Wednesday, friends flocked to show their support.
“Too soon man,” wrote Zachary Conley on Ruff’s Wall. “We will truly miss you. I almost just want to imagine you are just out running somewhere… and just won’t be back for a while.”
Services will be held at Rolling Hills Christian Church, 800 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills, at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28.