Nancy Serfass Ruiz

Born: Mon., Sep. 27, 1943
Died: Sat., Nov. 5, 2016


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Nancy Serfass Ruiz, 73, passed away quietly November 5, 2016 after many years of enduring the consequences of a gut injury. Even in her last year when she was struggling, she was still gracious, cheerful, and considerate of others.  A neighbor said she was generous to a fault.  A former student wrote:  "I went into teaching because of you, and those 34 years were the happiest of my life."  Nancy practiced hope and charity and believed that there are angels growing everywhere on earth if one will merely elevate them.

Nancy was born in Bethlehem, PA, learned some French in the Moravian School, sang in the children's choir of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and studied Latin and German for three years in Nitschmann Junior High and Liberty High School.  Her parents, Earl James Serfass and Mabel Dowling Serfass, moved the family to St. Petersburg, FL when she entered her senior class year at Dixie M. Hollins High.  Her feelings of uncertainty and loneliness as an outsider in a new school shaped her lifetime of helping many adolescent students to achieve success in careers and in everyday living.

Nancy attended Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd College) in St. Pete., and was graduated from the University of Florida in 1965 with a teaching certificate and a speciality in foreign languages.  She taught students of Spanish and German at South Broward High School for thirty years.  She earned the Master's degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University and became head of the foreign language department at South Broward.  Her students were her pride and joy.  After her retirement from teaching, she designed and produced the Multicultural Activity Guide for the Broward County Public Schools and volunteered to tutor Spanish students gratis.  She looked forward to activities of the Broward County Retired Educators Association and the Girls Night Out group.

Nancy married Frederic A. Ruiz of Coral Gables, FL in 1968, and he predeceased her.  "Frau Ruiz," as she was sometimes called, is survived by a brother, Robert Serfass of Portland, OR and by many students who benefitted from her encouragement.  Friends, co-workers and students may recall her contagious and indomitable spirit.  She was no selfish giant; hers were the wounds of love.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her name to the Scholarship Fund may be made out to the Broward County Retired Educators Association, Marelise LeClerc, Treasurer, 615 North 31st Road, Hollywood, FL 33021.  Please include a return address so that every donation may be acknowledged. 

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James Sutton
   Posted Sat November 12, 2016
Dear Frau Ruiz:
I'll never forget how kind you were to an awkward student and how much you really cared. I'll never forget you making a meatloaf for my family and bringing it over when my mother was sick.
I only took German 3 and 4 to hang out with you, pretty sure you always knew that.
Thank you for all the phone calls during the years after graduation. Do you remember us laughing that building 5 had asbestos and it was only removed after you were there 20 years?
I'll always, always love you!
Fritz

Rosa Parra
   Posted Tue January 17, 2017
Nancita, not a day goes by without my thinking of you. So many times I have gone to the phone to ask you a question, share a bit of news etc. and realize that I can no longer communicate via "earthly media." That being said, I "talk" to you via celestial media. Although you are missed, we know that you are finally at peace experiencing no more pain. The journey was long, but you are finally "HOME!" Be our guardian angel and watch out after us as we continue on our own journey "home." Love you chica!

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