Ballinger lost part of its heart and soul on April 4th, 2019, when Juan Carlos Ruiz suddenly passed away overnight. Ruiz, 37, was born on October 28th, 1981 in Eden, Texas to Oscar and Norma (Mata) Ruiz. In 2000 he graduated from Paint Rock High School and married his wife, Saranada Boone, on August 13th, 2005. Together the couple had 3 children, Isabel, Juan and Jacob. One of his favorite activities was walking through the garden with his wife with is favorite flowers being pansies and zinnias.
Ruiz was superintendent of Ballinger’s water department, where he had worked for 13 years, and was known for his strong work ethic. Ruiz was also a valued member of the Ballinger Volunteer Fire Department for 7 years and perhaps one his greatest contributions was his quick wit, the ability to tell a joke and lighten a mood quickly. Ruiz was known for his mild temperament but mostly as a father with a strong love of his family.
Ruiz was a long-time, devoted member of St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church. He was on the church council as well as on the Knights of Columbus council. He was named “Knight of the Year” for the Ballinger Council in 2017. He and his family were also named “Family of the Year” in 2017. Ruiz was a highly respected little league baseball coach and involved in other aspects of Ballinger’s youth sports.
Robert Langston, a lieutenant with the Ballinger Volunteer Fire Department spoke fondly of Ruiz, “He was a lot of things before he was a fire fighter. If there was a call he was there, if there was someone in need he was there. The fire department was just one side of him. He was a Catholic, a leader with the city, spent countless hours with Ballinger youth sports, and not to forget, being a husband, father, brother, uncle, etc.”
The day Ruiz passed away he had fought a grass fire along with Langston and another fire fighter. Ruiz used a hand-line to spray water on the grass fire as he worked his way up and down the 45-degree angle of the dam where the fire was located. He was also there that afternoon with the fire department as they honored the remains of 18 veterans bring brought through Ballinger. The fire department set up their ladder truck with an American flag hanging from it. After a busy day he finished it off with a meeting at the firehouse around 6 p.m. All of this in addition to his regular job as superintendent of the city water department.
The fire department gave a statement regarding Ruiz’s death, “Right now the fire department is treating his death as a line of duty death (LODD) since occurred within 24 hours of fighting the grass fire.” The autopsy report is expected within a couple of weeks.