Josh Ruff, 23, began working at David Girard Winery on June 1, 2011. It was an accident there that led to the assistant winemaker’s death last Wednesday.
“Another employee heard a crash, responded and saw (Josh’s) right leg pinned underneath a hopper,” said El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Becker. CPR was performed on-scene and Ruff was flown by helicopter to Sutter Roseville Medical Center where he died.
“We all loved Josh, each and every one of us,” winery owner David Girard said. “We’re devastated. We’re in shock.”
Ruff, who attended California State University, Long Beach, was known for his role on Oak Ridge High School’s track and field team, where, after graduating in 2007, he became 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 recently had his bachelor party, and was just three weeks shy of his wedding to fiancée Rachel Manasse of Redondo Beach. Manasse also attended CSU Long Beach, where she played tennis.
As news of the accident spread last week, 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 were held at Rolling Hills Christian Church on 800 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills on Tuesday, Aug. 28.