Richard Dale Ruppert, M.D., lived every day of his 81 years filled with enthusiasm, optimism and most of all, love. He died unexpectedly on October 22, 2012. Born in Middletown, Ohio as the sixth of ten children, Dick dearly loved his parents, Paul Edward and Sarah Elizabeth (Morgan) Ruppert. As a young boy, Dick demonstrated an early passion for politics, sports, academics (excluding Spanish) and making friends everywhere he went. He was a member of the Franklin, Ohio High School Class of 1949, for which he served as Class President. After graduating, he spent five more years in Franklin working on the Ruppert family farm, Brookhaven, where he learned the art of growing soy beans, corn and tobacco. In 1953, he initially enrolled in The Ohio State University to pursue a degree in agriculture, but soon discovered his calling to pursue a life-long career as a physician and healthcare advocate. When he graduated from OSU in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science, he then went on to become a member of the OSU College of Medicine Class of 1961.
During his first year of medical school, Dick met and fell in love with his classmate and best friend, Elizabeth (Libby) Spencer Ruppert M.D. They were married in 1959, in what proved to be a storybook romance that has lasted 53 years. Together, Dick and Libby produced four strong daughters, Victoria Ruppert (Scott) Ridge, Elizabeth Morgan Ruppert (David Midtvedt), Rebecca Ruppert (Ronald) McMahon and Julie Ruppert (Todd) Schulte. They are also the proud grandparents of the seven greatest grandchildren in the world, Alexandria and Caitlin Ridge, Kinkade and Chessica Ruppert-Midtvedt, Natalie McMahon and Kyle and Lena Schulte.
After completing an internal medicine internship at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois (1961-1962), Dick returned to OSU where he completed a residency in gastroenterology (1962-1965), served as Chief Resident (1964-1965), professor of gastroenterology in the Department of Medicine (1965-1974), Assistant Dean for the College of Medicine (1970-1974) and Medical Director for Patient Services (1972-1974), in addition to being selected Man of the Year (1970). He then served four years as the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs at the Ohio Board of Regents (1974-1977) until the fall of 1977 when he was chosen to become the third President of The Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. During his seventeen years of visionary leadership, the College's physical plant grew with the addition of $150 million for the construction of a 270 bed University Hospital, Dowling Hall, the Coghlin Pavilion, the Kobacker Center, the Henry L. Morse Sports Center and an ambulatory care center formally named in 1993 by approval of the MCO Board of Trustees, the Richard D. Ruppert Health Center. In addition, during his tenure, the College added the School of Nursing, the School of Allied Health and the Graduate School. Dick also provided leadership to grow and strengthen the College's health education, research and patient-centered care programs. Throughout his time with MCO and following his retirement in 1993, Dick also devoted his leadership, talents and boundless energy to the civic arena. Among other notable achievements, he served as: trustee (1982-1993) and President (1993-1994) of the American Society of Internal Medicine; member and four year Chairman of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Board (1989-1999); Campaign Chair for the United Way of Greater Toledo (1991-1992); trustee, Campaign Chairman and President of the Fort Meigs Historical Society (2002-present); member and President of the Ohio Historical Society Board (2001-2011); President of Toledo Rotary (2005-2006); member of the Hayes Presidential Center Board (1996 - 2011); President of the Torch Club (2012), and honored member of the Foster Group. He also served as a member of the Boards of Directors for PICO Holdings, Inc. (1995-2012) and the Physicians Insurance Company of Ohio (1988-1995). While he received many professional and civic recognitions throughout his life, Dick was particularly honored to be inducted into the Halls of Fame for Franklin High School and the Village of Ottawa Hills, selected by the American College of Physicians as an outstanding Master Fellow (2007), and chosen as a recipient of the Jefferson Award (2009). Above all else, Dick cherished every minute with his dear Lib and family, his unlimited woodworking and home improvement projects, reading on the shores of Lake Erie, and cheering on his beloved Buckeyes. He will be forever missed.
The Ruppert family will receive friends on Friday, October 26, 2012, from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Coyle Funeral Home, located at 1770 S. Reynolds Road, Toledo. A celebration of Dick's life will be held on Saturday, October 27, at 11 a.m. at Christ Presbyterian Church located at 4225 West Sylvania Avenue in Toledo. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to either the Richard D. Ruppert M.D. Scholarship Fund at the University of Toledo College of Medicine or the Anne Grady Prescribed Pediatric Center. Please view and sign the "on-line" guest registry atCoyleFuneralHome.com
Published in Toledo Blade from Oct. 24 to Oct. 25, 2012