Ruth Elaine Buffenbarger

Ruth Elaine Buffenbarger, famous for her chocolate chip cookies, passed away on July 5, 2023 in Traverse City, MI. She was born August 23, 1923 in Charlotte, MI to Percy and Grace (Linsley) Young. She led an active life as a child playing with her sister and friends, then fell in love as a young lady with Robert Buffenbarger, then waited 3½ years for his return from World War II. Their wedding was shortly after his safe return on June 26, 1945. Elaine worked for Michigan Bell Telephone company, Dr. Sevener, Dr. Demuth, and lastly for Dr. William Wright where she retired in 1986.
Elaine enjoyed dancing, reading, and doing word puzzles. With expertise in home management, she thrived on entertaining friends and family. To be at Elaine’s table was a pleasure as she was a wonderful cook. Hours, if possible, were then spent around the same table playing games. Time with family was important to Elaine and time outdoors camping and going on picnics were some of her favorite activities. Her apartment in Kalkaska, Michigan was a dear space for Elaine where she socialized with many friends. Pondering the highlights of her life as a child jumping rope with her sister, playing jacks with her best friend Doris, ice skating, bike riding, and going to Pine Lake. She was very devoted in her faith, after Elaine moved to Kalkaska she became a member of the Peoples Church. Above all her biggest passion in life was being married to her husband and the family it gave her.
Elaine is survived by her children, Robert (Pam) Buffenbarger, and Debra (Dion) Balliet; grandchildren, Jason (Jill) Balliet, Jeremy (Jana) Balliet, Josh (Janie) Balliet, and Todd (Stephanie) Buffenbarger; great-grandchildren, Eric, Leo, Mia, Josie, Ellie, Ethan, Paige, Matthew, and Chelsie. She was predeceased by her husband of 60 years, Robert; siblings, Ailleen (Lawrence) Patterson, and Fred (Margaret) Young; and her parents.
Friends are encouraged to support Elaine’s family sharing memories on her Tribute Page at Visitation was Monday, July 10, 2023, at Pray Funeral Home. Funeral services were Tuesday, July 11, 2023, at 11:00 a.m. at Pray Funeral Home with Pastor Josh Guy officiating. The funeral was webcast so you may watch it from any computer, smartphone, or mobile device that has internet access. Go to, click on Elaine’s tribute, then click on Photos and Videos from your computer (or Media from your smart phone). If desired, the family suggests memorial contributions to Peoples Church in Kalkaska. The family is in the care of Pray Funeral Home, Charlotte.