Dr. Virgil “Gene” Rufi passed away on the morning of Jan. 7, from complications with Parkinson’s disease. Gene was born in Evanston, to Virgil Leon Rufi and Ella Eliza Whittaker Rufi. He was the oldest of four children.
After graduating from Evanston High School, Gene enlisted in the Navy in 1952. He served as a medic in Guam from 1953 to 1955. Upon discharge from the service, Gene returned home to Evanston, where he married Janet Louise Sim on June 29, 1956. They were blessed with two sons, Kevin Gene and Nathan Douglas.
Gene’s maternal grandmother was a midwife in Evanston and instilled in him the wonder and awe of delivering babies. He decided to become a doctor specializing as an OB/GYN, and he graduated from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1965.
He spent his internship at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. He then moved to San Jose, California, to complete his residency and then joined an obstetrical practice.
His marriage to Janet ended in divorce and he met and married the love of his life, Janiece O. Bacigalupi, in 1972. Janiece’s three children — Kimberly, Jim and Lisa — were added to his family.
In 1979 he accepted the opportunity to join an OB/GYN office in Pocatello, Idaho, where he practiced until his retirement in 2005. He delivered more than 6,000 babies, and he has a picture album filled with pictures of each one of them.
Dr. Rufi’s greatest passion in life was his patients. He dedicated his life to being the best doctor possible and in compassionate service to others. His second greatest passion was boating. He loved spending time on the water with friends and family. He has many fond memories of boating on Jackson Lake, Lake Mead and American Falls Reservoir.
He would buy a boat only to sell it and buy a bigger boat. He ultimately ended up with a 50-foot boat named “Blind Faith” that he moored in Marina Del Ray. Upon retirement, Gene and Janiece moved to Chapala Ajijic, Mexico. They loved to travel and experience new things. They had many friends and often traveled together with them. Oh, the stories they had!
Sadly, Janiece was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in 2011 they moved to Eagle, Idaho, for her to continue her treatments. She passed away in December of 2011. About this time, Gene’s Parkinson’s was becoming more acute, so in August 2017, he moved back to Pocatello to be near his sons.
Gene is survived by his younger brother, Barrie Dee (Judith) Rufi, Sandy, Utah; sons, Kevin Gene (Teresa) Rufi, Pocatello, Idaho; and Nathan Douglas (Wendy) Rufi, Downey, Idaho; stepchildren, Kim (Eric) Belcher, Redondo Beach, California; Jim Bacigalupi, Fairbanks, Alaska; and Lisa (Mike) Vargason, Denver/Boise; five grandchildren, 11 step-grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
Per his wishes, Gene will be buried next to the love of his life, Janiece, at Dry Creek Cemetery in Eagle, Idaho. At his request, there will be a private family service at a later date.
Many thanks go to the special care given by the staff and friends made at Touchmark Assisted Living in Meridian, and Copper Summit Assisted Living in Pocatello.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Gene’s name to the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation. Information can be found at www.michaeljfox.org or by calling (800) 708-7644.