Rupert "RJ" Loeffler
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Rupert "RJ" Loeffler, age 87, died December 5, 2012 at the Portage County Health Care Center.
Rupert was born April 17, 1925 in Milwaukee, to the late Rupert and Gertrude Loeffler.
He served during WWII as a Naval airman, flying TBM Avenger torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard in the South Pacific. As a post-war pilot, he was a pioneer aerial crop duster of the 1940's, flying a war surplus Navy N3N Stearman. Later he hired on as a "Freighter", flying commercial cargo runs in the U.S. Midwest and Canada.
He was employed by Jimmy Lynch Death Dodgers Thrill Shows as a car and motorcycle stunt rider, appearing at county fairs, and flew with the Navy Blue Angels. He also performed re-enactments of "Wild West" Shoot-outs for tourist attractions in the Wisconsin Dells area. He was later employed as a test rider and experimental engineer for the Harley Davidson Motor Co., and as an automotive engineer for the Studebaker Corporation of Canada. He also worked for the Ford Motor Co as a proving grounds test driver. He owned a Harley Davidson motorcycle and an Evinrude outboard motors dealership.
Rupert's major hobbies in his younger days included driving stock cars and racing motorcycles. A collection of his trophies and racing memorabilia are on display in the Hartung Museum in Glenview, Illinois.
Prior to retirement from the U.S. Federal Government, his employment included air traffic controller with the Federal Aviation Agency, industrial engineer for the U.S. Army, and civil engineer for the U.S. Navy.
Mr. Loeffler held Engineer status with the Society of Automotive Engineers, the American Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the Society of Military Engineers. Rupert was recently honored by the Silver Wings Fraternity for holding an active pilot certificate for over 50 years, having soloed in a Curtis-Robbin in 1942.
Rupert pursued his hobby of trapshooting by traveling extensively throughout the lower 48 States, winning over 300 shooting events, including seven Senior Veteran Championship titles for the States of Arizona, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Survivors include a daughter, Teresa Marie Lawrence; and brothers, Lawrence, James, Donald and Gerald. He was preceded in death by a son, Michael Rupert and a daughter, Paula Jean.
A visitation will be held on Sunday at Boston Funeral Home from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. with a Plover VFW Post 10262 ritual at 2:00 p.m. A Committal service will take place 10:00 a.m. Monday, in the Chapel at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King, WI, with military honors by the Plover VFW Post and U.S. Navy.
Special thanks to Len Literski, RJ's "right hand man", and thanks to Robert McDonald, Louis Molepske Jr., the staff and especially Stephanie at Portage County Health Care Center. Thanks to all for helping RJ in so many ways.
Online condolences may be made at www.bostonfuneralhome.net
Published in Stevens Point Journal on Dec. 8, 2012