Dr. Alfonso Ruiz of Bogota, Colombia, passed away peacefully on May 2, 2014 surrounded by his loving family in Tampa, Florida. He is survived by his wife, Cecilia; his children, Yvette (husband Edgard), Tatiana, Alfonso & Ivan (wife Gabrielle); and his grandchildren, Giovanna, Edgard, Alexandra, Daniela, Isabella, and Ivan Jr. He was married to his beloved Cecilia, or as he called her "Pata," for 46 years. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, remembered for all by the laughter, joy and advice he shared with those around him. The books, laboratories, oil paintings, and stain glass artifacts he created during his life time are reminders of his passion for living, for the beauty he saw in places and people he encountered, and for the dedication he put into anything he touched.
He dedicated his life to his family and his work, demonstrated by the love and success that surrounded him throughout his lifetime. We could fill pages and pages with books he wrote, courses he taught, diseases he eradicated, recognition and awards received, but his true legacy has been the love, respect and laughter he spread throughout the world, including mentees, family and friends. He will live in the hearts and memories of everyone he encountered, as an inspiration, a ray of sun. He will also live on in the life of so many others he didn't meet, as his commitment to public health has saved many lives and future generations throughout the world. He dedicated 27 years of work to the World Health Organization, 3 years at the Inter American Development Bank, and 10 years at the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario.
Alfonso was an avid care-giver of orchids. What these rare flowers represent, encompass the meaning of his life; love for rare beauty, refinement, a symbol of perfection, a gift which shows that the heir is the most valued in one's life.
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