Jerry hails from Steubenville, Ohio. He grew up in a strong Christian family and attended the Finley United Methodist Church. Steeped in evangelical and holiness preaching and teaching, he committed his life to Christ at age 16. He graduated from Asbury College in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in History-Secondary Education with a minor in Spanish. Feeling a call from God upon his life for pastoral ministry, he enrolled at Asbury Seminary and in 1972 he was ordained as deacon in the East Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1974 Jerry graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky with a Master of Divinity degree. Believing God’s call was to New Jersey he transferred to the Southern New Jersey Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church where he was ordained elder in 1975. Jerry was appointed by Bishop Prince Albert Taylor to serve as Pastor of the Sea Isle City United Methodist Church from 1974 until 1983. During his tenure the church grew both spiritually and numerically which necessitated the building of an office/educational wing. In January 1983, Jerry was appointed by Bishop C. Dale White to the Sicklerville United Methodist Church. In the time that Jerry served there as Senior Pastor he saw much growth and many changes both to the community of Winslow Township and to the church.
In July 2010 Jerry was appointed by Bishop Devadhar as Associate Pastor of Sharptown Church and Lead Pastor at the Sharptown North Campus. In July 2015 Jerry retired from full-time ministry but still serves the Sharptown Church as part-time assistant.
Jerry enjoys flower and vegetable gardening as well as sports, both as spectator and participant. Currently, he is focusing on his golf game. A die-hard Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns fan, his lifelong sports fantasy is for the Indians to win the World Series and the Browns to win the Super Bowl, and maybe even the Cavaliers to take the NBA championship!
Jerry is married to Sharon Hartman Ruff (of Woodlynne, NJ) and they have two children. Their daughter, Stephanie, is a 1999 graduate from Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, and received a master’s degree in counseling from Eastern College in St. David’s, Pennsylvania. She is married to Bryce Hogan and they have a daughter, Clodagh Bryn. Stephanie is Director of Titus Women, a ministry of the Francis Asbury Society based in Wilmore, KY. The Hogans live in Pitman, NJ.
Their son, Steven, graduated from Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida, in 2002 and received his M.Div. degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield (Chicago), Illinois in 2013. Steven is married to Alisa Yetter of LaGrange Park, Illinois, and they reside in Solon, Ohio, where Steve is an Associate Pastor at the Parkside Community Church (Alistair Begg-Senior Pastor) with focused responsibilities for College Age and Community Outreach.