Walter Eugene Pupa
October 28, 1921 - November 29, 2011
Walter Eugene Pupa peacefully left this world for a better place on Tuesday evening, November 29th from WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh, NC. Walt was a tremendous gentleman with a life full of accomplishments. He touched so many people, but none more than his close family members and friends. He was an exceptional father & role model for his sons & grandchildren. He was an amazingly strong man in body, character, and will.
From humble beginnings in the Pittston, Pennsylvania coal mining region during the depression, he earned a football scholarship to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. During the recruiting process to UNC by Coach Jim Tatum, Walt's father convinced him to attend UNC, because, as the Coach described it "the streets must be paved with gold in Chapel Hill". Walt's education & college football career was interrupted by his service in the military during WWII. Walt served in the US Navy's Tunney program, which assigned Physical Education majors as Trainers for new recruits.
After the war Walt returned to UNC to complete both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He earned All-American status as the bruising fullback during the Justice-era, and played in the 1946 Sugar Bowl. He was awarded the prestigious Patterson Medal, presented to the senior student-athlete in the University who is judged by a committee of faculty, administrators, and students to be most outstanding in athletic ability, sportsmanship, morale, leadership, and general conduct.
Walt was drafted by the Chicago Bears to play professionally, but following knee surgery elected to retire as a player and become an assistant football coach at UNC. Following a 5-year coaching career, he began his business career as a Sales Engineer at Amoco Oil Company where he exemplified his work-ethic for over 30 years. He became a very accomplished amateur golfer in North & South Carolina, winning many tournaments. He led a very active retirement life that included playing golf at Raleigh Country Club, attending UNC sporting events, serving as an Usher at Church, and supporting numerous charitable organizations. Walt was a lifetime member of the General Alumni Association plus a long-time member of the Educational Foundation @ UNC and had been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame.
Walt was preceded in death by his loving wife, Babette (Betty) Reichold Pupa, in 2003. He demonstrated his devotion and love for her over the years and now can be with her again in heaven. How he cared for her, especially during her last years of life when she struggled with Alzheimer's, were true examples of his love for her and the depth of his character.
He is survived by his three sons & daughters-in-law: Walter Reichold & Margaret Linda Jones Pupa of Raleigh, Edward Reichold & Mary Ruth Jones Pupa of Raleigh, & Thomas Reichold & Linda Sue Clawson Pupa of Hartsville, SC. He has seven loving grandchildren – Nicholas, Aaron, Benjamin, Jordan, Sarah, Jessica, & John, and one great grandchild, Gavin. He is also survived by his two brothers – Arthur and Edward Pupa, and many loving family members in Pennsylvania.
The family received visitors on Friday, December 2nd from 7-9 p.m. at Mitchell Funeral Home (783-7128) at Raleigh Memorial Park, 7209 Glenwood Ave. On Saturday, December 3rd, there was a Funeral Mass at 1:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church (861-4800), 2718 Overbrook Dr. in Raleigh, NC.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2718 Overbrook Dr., Raleigh, NC 27608. Condolences and special memories can be shared at www.MitchellatRMP.com