Ruffin, 58, died on May 19 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak from complications from COVID-19.
The Detroit resident attended Mumford High School in Detroit, and her career has included modeling and bartending. She has also done direct care work with hospice patients and has taught ballroom dancing and ballroom dancing classes.
Frazier, who was an infant when David Ruffin died, recalls his mother telling stories of going to concerts, spending time in the studio with his father, and getting into his convertible Corvette.
“She did a lot with him,” she says.
“We’ve always been known as unborn twins,” said her sister Cheryl Ruffin, who is almost Nedra Ruffin’s age. “I will miss her love, her abandonment. She gave herself so much to others. And I will miss our meetings.
Lamont Robinson, founder and CEO of the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame and Ruffin’s brother-in-law, said Nedra Ruffin was instrumental in changing the name from Parkside Street in Detroit to David Ruffin Avenue in June 2019.
A street in Meridian, Mississippi was also renamed David Ruffin Boulevard in October 2019.
Known as NeNe and Special, Ruffin loved to travel and spend time with her grandchildren.
She was active helping Narcotics Anonymous and was proud to be drug free for 28 years, according to Frazier.
She had difficulty breathing, was confused and tired, and was admitted to the hospital the day after Mother’s Day.
Soon after, she was in intensive care and put on a ventilator, according to her sister Cheryl, who said, “She never went out.
Ruffin is survived by his mother, Sandra Ruffin; his son Clifford Pearson and his daughters, Terea Frazier and DeAiress Frazier; six grandchildren; sisters Cheryl Ruffin – Robinson (Lamont), Kimberly Mone ‘Ruffin Jones; and one brother, David Ruffin, Jr.
A home celebration begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday at the Oasis of Hope Christian Church, 933 W. Seven Mile, Detroit.
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Brendel Hightower is associate editor at the Detroit Free Press. Contact her at [email protected]