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Hometown Weeklies | Thursday, February 23, 2012
Kelly clown figurines hold special meaning for township family By Julie Brown Staff Writer
When Connie Ruff’s late husband, Dennis, became bedridden with multiple sclerosis, the family’s collection of Emmett Kelly clown figurines brought him a dose of happiness. Following Dennis’s 2004 death, Connie has kept the figurines at her Northville Township home. “Probably over 100 figurines,” she said. “My daughter started him on it. It became something he was fascinated with.” The Kelly figurines show the image of a sad clown, a real-life character both of Kelly and his son, Emmett Kelly Jr. The Ruffs’ collection is in great shape. “They’ve all been behind glass in a cabinet,” she said. Some pieces are signed by Kelly Jr. “He took over his father’s place,” she said, noting the son worked as an ambassador for Kodak at the 1964 World’s Fair. “His whole performance is in mime.” Con-
Some of the smaller Emmett Kelly clown ﬁgurines of Connie Ruff.
nie and Dennis saw Kelly Jr. some 15 years ago in Frankenmuth, and she realized she couldn’t speak to him once he was in character. Dennis was diagnosed with MS in his 30s and died in his 50s. He used a wheelchair during a part of his illness before being bedbound. “He would have me once a week change them (figurines) out. Being bedbound, he didn’t have much avenue.” The Internet wasn’t widespread at
that time, she said, and such a patient now would have more to see. The couple’s daughter, 42, lives in California. Connie said she and many friends have found their children don’t want or can’t take larger collections such as hers. “Your kids don’t want these,” she said. She is busy cataloging the collection and plans to sell it through auction.
PHOTOS BY JOHN HEIDER | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Northville resident Connie Ruff is hoping to sell her late husband’s collection of Emmett Kelly clown ﬁgurines. She has about 101 of the ceramic ﬁgures, part of a collection that was begun in the early ‘80s.
S a tu rda y,M a rch 3rd 9: 00 a m -4: 00 pm
Currier-Butkovich Lyndsey Kay Currier and Blake Alan Butkovich announce their engagement. The bride-to-be, daughter of George and Kathy Currier of Northville, graduated from Northville High School and works at Northpointe Insurance. Her fiancé, son of Ernie Butkovich of Canton and MaryAnn Butkovich of Plymouth, graduated
from Canton High School and works at Northpointe Insurance.
A September 2012 wedding is planned in Northville.
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