Timothy B. Ruff, who was owner and president of Ruff Roofers Inc., which was known for its exacting craftsmanship, died Friday of undetermined causes at his Queenstown home.
The former Catonsville resident was 53.
"We are waiting for the results of an autopsy to determine the cause of death," said a son, Robert C. Ruff of Federal Hill.
Timothy Bruce Ruff was born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville, where he graduated from Catonsville High School. He also attended Villa Julie College.
Mr. Ruff was a youngster when he began working for Ruff Roofers Inc., which had been established by his grandfather in 1939, washing trucks, buffing floors and cleaning up the yard.
He then went to work in the field, where he learned the roofing and sheet metal trade from his father, who was the second generation to work in the family-owned business.
"He combined his vast field experience with the knowledge that his father bestowed on him and passed that to the fourth generation and many others, sharing his skills of the trade," his son said. "He was not only a master roofer and sheet metal craftsman, but an astute businessman."
In 1995, Mr. Ruff purchased Ruff Roofers from his father. He expanded the company from five employees to more than 130, with a client list that included Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins University, the Pentagon, the Naval Academy and the State House in Annapolis.
"He lived and breathed the business," his son said.
Since 1992, he had lived on the Wye River near Queenstown and spent winters at a second home in Key West, Fla.
Mr. Ruff enjoyed boating and "spending time with his family," his son said.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Sterling-Ashton-Schwab-Witzke Funeral Home, 1630 Edmondson Ave.
In addition to his son, Mr. Ruff is survived by his wife of 33 years, the former Gina Crawford; another son, Timothy R. Ruff of Queenstown; three daughters, Jennifer R. Ruff, Christina L. Ruff and Juliette A. Ruff, all of Queenstown; his mother, Marilyn Ruff of Catonsville; a brother, Ronald W. Ruff of Queenstown; a sister, Debra Jane Salim of Ellicott City; a grandson; and several nieces and nephews.