Melinda Harley Ruff, 77, of Columbia, died Wednesday, December 16, 2020. She was raised in Laurens by her parents, the late William Hummel Harley and Caroline Monteith Harley, and was the granddaughter of the late Joseph Emile Harley who served as Governor of South Carolina.

Melinda graduated from Laurens High School and the University of South Carolina, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She married who she said was the cutest boy she had ever met, J. Delleney “Laney” Ruff, Jr., and they enjoyed 54 years together. Melinda raised two boys, Harley and Andy, while running two businesses, The Golf Bag and Concepts, with her friends. She spent most of her career in the commercial insurance industry, earning the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

Melinda loved great music and was an active member of the Shandon United Methodist Church choir for 56 years, having joined as an undergraduate at USC. She and Laney were among the greatest of Gamecock fans and made tailgating an art form. One of her life’s highlights was being in Omaha for two baseball national championships. During her retirement years, Melinda enjoyed volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbia. She and Laney loved to travel, and they took a large number of trips and cruises to Europe, Scandinavia, Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, and South America. After the sudden loss of her husband, she moved to Still Hopes retirement community where she enthusiastically engaged in several activities and made many friends.

Melinda was a wonderful person who spent her life loving, and being loved by, her family and friends; and always doing for others ahead of herself. Her generous spirit was a great example to her children and grandchildren and she will be greatly missed.

Melinda was predeceased by her parents and husband. She is survived by her sons Harley (Carol) of Beaufort and Andy of Columbia; grandchildren Clayton, Graham, and Mary Virginia, all of Beaufort; her brother Colin (Anita) Harley of Kiawah Island; her sisters-in-law Sally (Jim) Wiseman and Mary (George) Ross, both of Columbia; as well as many nieces and nephews whom she adored.

A celebration of Melinda’s life will be held at a later date. Memories and condolences may be shared, and a recording of the interment ceremony may be viewed, at

Memorials may be made to Ronald McDonald House Charities Columbia SC, 2901 Colonial Drive, Columbia, SC 29203, or to Shandon United Methodist Church Music Fund, 3407 Devine St., Columbia, SC 29205,, Memorial/Honor Fund; memo Ruff Music Fund.

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