Florinda Ruiz passed away surrounded by family on Jan. 31, 2024, at noon. Flor lived her life with a joy and energy that was contagious.

Flor was born on Nov. 12, 1961, to Florinda Marcos Casquero and Guillermo Ruiz Vicente in Guadalajara, Spain.

She grew up in Bejar and Salamanca before moving to Madrid where she attended high school and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid where she pursued her lifelong passion for classical language study, Spanish language and teaching. After teaching high school for a year, she attended Johns Hopkins University to pursue a master’s degree in classics. There, she always said, fate took a turn as she received not only her master of arts, but also a doctorate, an “M.R.S.” and a “M.O.M.” She and Mark Rush were married on Jan. 9, 1988, in Madrid. They moved to Lexington in 1990.

Flor taught classics and Spanish at Washington and Lee University before taking a full-time position in the foreign languages department at Roanoke College. She attained the rank of associate professor with tenure, was a beloved colleague and mentor, and was honored with the Exemplary Teaching Award. After spending three years in Dubai, she returned to Lexington and served as the director of the writing program at W&L until her retirement in 2023.

Flor was a woman of remarkable passion, spirit, energy and talent. She was an avid, award-winning photographer, a published poet, a talented jeweler and a lifelong artist. With her camera, she captured moments of breathtaking beauty. She had the wonderful ability to connect with people through her artistry and assembled a collection of portraits of women from across the globe that was exhibited as “Women beyond Borders” at Washington and Lee in 2014.

Her cancer diagnosis drove her to pursue her artistic passions further and with a new intensity and focus, as she engaged with the “Brushes with Cancer” program. There she collaborated with other cancer survivors and artists to produce “Shrine for Renewal” as part of an interactive, multimedia art exhibit in Philadelphia in October 2021.

She was particularly active in the Hispanic and immigrant community. She worked closely with HACIENDA of Roanoke to support cultural events and outreach. She volunteered at the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic as a medical translator, and traveled extensively across Virginia as a court and legal translator.

Flor was an avid traveler. Whether traveling with family, friends, students or W&L Lifelong Learning tours, her energy and warmth were infectious and she made lifelong friends wherever she went. Yet, she was never happier than when spending time with family and close friends.

Flor is survived by her brother, Guillermo; her mother, Florinda; her two sons, William and Alex; daughter-in-law Meaghann; granddaughter Celia; her dog Humphrey; and her husband of 36 years, Mark Rush.

The family will host a celebration of life in March.

Te queremos siempre,



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