Russell Thomas Rippe

RUSSELL THOMAS RIPPE Russell Thomas Rippe, dearly
beloved by all family and friends, passed away on Nov. 1, at the age of 90, in Vero Beach, FL. Born Feb. 6, 1923, in Blufton, IN, the first of two sons to Russell Rippe and Dorothy Rippe (Thomas), Tom later moved to Madison, WI, and graduated from Madison East HS, where he met his future wife, Barbara Ellen Langlois. Shortly after graduation, at the start of World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Force, and as a Captain, piloted a B-17 on 28 combat missions over Germany and German- occupied countries. He was awarded an Air Medal and two Oak Leaf Clusters. At war's end, Tom returned to Madison and earned his B.A. in business at the University of Wisconsin, where he played guard for the Badgers' basketball team for four years and helped win the 1946-'47 Big Nine championship. He also reunited with Barbara; they were wed on Jan. 30, 1947, and enjoyed 45 blessed years of marriage. Tom spent his entire professional career in the surety department of the Aetna Life and Casualty Co., moving five times until becoming a senior executive in the Hartford, CT., home office, where he stayed until his retirement to Vero in 1982. His professional and social club memberships included Rotary Club International and the Vero Beach Country Club. Self-taught in golf, he maintained a scratch handicap until his last few years of play and once hit a drive 245 yards for a hole-in-one. Of his many tournament wins, he was most pleased with his triumph as a guest at Semiahmoo Country Club (WA), where he visited many summers. Tom counted fishing, dancing, University of Wisconsin football and basketball, and the selling, swapping and regripping of golf clubs as hobbies. Tom worshipped at Trinity Episcopal Church in Vero, serving as a Chapel Chalice Minister/Lector and in the Cursillo men's group. After Barbara went to be with the Lord in January 1992, Tom wed Julia Muhleman Gooding on May 30, 1996, beginning 17 years together. In November 2006, Tom suffered a stroke that resigned him physically to a wheelchair yet never once robbed him of his sense of humor and love of family. He moved first to an assisted living facility near his home with Judy so they could see each other daily, but declining health precipitated his last move, in June 2009, to the Florida Baptist nursing home, where he was treated with warmth, compassion and respect. In addition to his wife, Tom is survived by his son, Maj. Gen. (ret) Stephen Thomas (Kate Rice) Rippe of Washington, D.C., daughters Jane (Bob) Shinn of Winter Park, FL, and Elizabeth (Bart) Schroeder of Oconomowoc, WI, two step- sons, Robert (Martha) Gooding of Newport Beach, CA, and Richard Gooding of Vero, and step- daughter Linda Carole Gooding of Vero, adored grandchildren Peder Rippe, Stephanie Shinn, Annie Shinn, Stewart Shinn, and Matthew Schroeder, great- granddaughter Luna Rippe, and his devoted caregiver, and the wife of one of his Cursillo brothers, Jane Prager. Tom was predeceased by his brother, Paul Douglas Rippe. A memorial service for family, nearby friends and caregivers will be held in the chapel of Trinity Episcopal Church in Vero on Sat., Nov. 16, at 2 p.m., with private interment immediately following. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to either the VNA & Hospice Foundation, 1110 35th Ln., Vero Beach, FL, 32960, or Trinity Episcopal Church, 2365 Pine Ave., Vero Beach, FL, 32960.

Published in the TC Palm on Nov. 6, 2013