Patti Ruff was born in Plano, Texas, to John and Barb Yates in 1972. The area around Dallas was a fast growing suburban sprawl and become a huge metropolitan area to what used to be small towns and farm fields where Patti’s mother had grown up. Her parents had enough of the city life and wanted to get back to basics. They sold their dry-cleaning business and moved back to McGregor, Iowa, where her dad had been born and raised.
In 1978 Patti’s brothers were grown and out of the house and her parents felt the time was right to move back to Iowa. She was raised in the rural area around Marquette and McGregor and graduated in 1991 from Mar-Mac High School. She worked and paid her way through college and attended Winona State University for one year and transferred to Loras College in Dubuque where she graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in history.
While graduating from college in the spring of 1995, the fall brought Patti marrying her high school sweetheart, Dan Ruff. Over the next year saw her career path switch gears from working to pay for college to a job that would help support a soon growing family. In 1996 Patti took the job of accounting clerk at Agri Grain Marketing a river grain terminal on the Mississippi River at McGregor. She is starting her 17th season at the elevator that is now ran by Bunge North America.
Dan and Patti have 3 sons; Liam, Bryar, and Tucker ranging in age from 15 to 5. When it came time for Bryar to start preschool, the school district had taken over the program from a privately ran preschool. The days of school had been shortened from 4 to 2 half days. She was concerned that was not adequate time for early childhood education. The issue spurred Patti to run for the MFL Mar-Mac school board in 2003 and won beating out an veteran board member. She has gone onto be the president of the board for the past 4 years. As a school board member she has seen the development of child care centers adjacent to the school and a premier early childcare program put in place.
Patti spends her free time sitting in the bleachers cheering on her sons in various sports, kayaking the rivers of Northeast Iowa, and is a competitive team member of a trivia league.