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Delton C. "Rip" Reopelle Ph.D.


1924 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
Delton C. "Rip" Reopelle Ph.D. Obituary
Reopelle PhD, Delton C. "Rip" NATIONAL CITY -- Delton C. "Rip" Reopelle, PhD, passed away peacefully at his home in National City on August 1, 2014 at the age of 89. He was born and raised in Minneapolis. After graduating from high school in 1942, he joined the Army Air Corps Pilot Training Program and was sent to Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. The next 18 months he experienced excellent training at various Army Air Corps bases primarily in the southwestern part of the country until graduation in June 1944. The rest of his training program was spent learning how to fly a B-17 at Yuma, Arizona. In the fall of 1944, his crew went to England on the Queen Elizabeth II to join the 8th Air Force 379th Bomb Group in Kimbolton, England. On his 11th mission as a substitute co-pilot with another crew, his plane crashed on takeoff and he spent two weeks in the hospital and then returned to his regular crew. Only three survived that crash. On his 13th mission as co-pilot, his plane was shot down and he was taken prisoner of war. He was liberated on April 29, 1945 by Gen. George Patton at Moosburg, Germany, from Stalag VII-A. He returned by way of Camp Lucky Strike and then to New York Harbor on a former German ship. As they were coming into New York harbor, there were boats with lots of girls singing "Rum and Coca Cola" to welcome them back to the States. When he returned home, he and his wife Carolyn, decided he should take advantage of the GI Bill. He went to the University of Minnesota for two years then transferred to Arizona State to complete his Bachelor's and Master's in Education. In 1950, they moved to National City and he took a sixth grade teaching job at Lincoln Acres. He later became principal of Lincoln Acres and El Toyan Elementary Schools. A co-worker's grand- daughter recalls Principal Reopelle was a hall of famer in her childhood. Rip later became Curriculum Coordinator at the district office, Deputy Superintendent and finally Superintendent of the National School District after receiving his PhD. He was very proud that he spent his entire education career in the same school district. His other activities included serving as a Port Commissioner for more than eight years representing National City, Lieutenant Governor of Kiwanis Division 11 which included San Diego Metropolitan area, National City, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Bonita and Coronado, President of National City American Little League, Director on the National City Boys Club Board, member of Sweetwater High School Quarterback Club, Honorary Life Member of PTA, on the board of Paradise Valley Hospital and President of National City Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber named Rip its "Citizen of the Year" in 1982. Rip was a big fan of college sports, football and especially basketball and attended several NCAA final four events. He loved growing vegetables and sharing his harvest with his family, friends and neighbors. He was well- known for his spaghetti sauce and stuffed bell peppers. Every year he looked forward to the planning of the family vacation. To celebrate the trips, a Reopelle Family Singers Hymnal was established with lyrics that his boys wrote to Christmas Carol tunes that were sung on Christmas Eve gatherings each year. Many people wonder how he came up with the nickname "Rip." His answer was: "with a handle like Delton Curtis Joseph James Reopelle," someone had to look for simplification. Rip's wife, Carolyn, of 46 memorable years passed away in 1991. He is survived by his second wife Jane; three sons, Thomas of Bonita, Gerald of Newport Beach and James of Coronado; step-daughters, Colleen Larsen of Tierrasanta and Cindy Woods (Matt) of La Mesa; grand- daughter, Emily of New York City; step-grand- sons, Nathan, Cory, and Christopher; and step-granddaughter, Christina. He was a true father, friend and confidant. He touched the lives of so many people over the years, he will truly be missed. A public viewing will be held Wednesday, August 6, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Little Chapel of the Roses, Glen Abbey. A graveside service will be on Thursday, August 7, at 1 p.m. at Glen Abbey. A reception will follow from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista. Memorial donations, in memory of Rip, may be made to Sharp Healthcare Foundation at: www.give.sharp.com
Published in U-T San Diego on Aug. 5, 2014
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