Walter E. Pupa
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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

Published in The News & Observer from Dec. 1 to Dec. 7, 2011.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
July 13, 2012
I played golf with Walt once at Raleigh CC qualifying for the Wake County Amatuer when I was about 15 or 16. A very nice man and was very encouraging to me as a young golfer... And he was a heck of a golfer. Safe Journeys..
Carl Patterson
December 9, 2011
Our sympathy to the family of one of my Father's old teammates. On behalf of my Mother, my Sister, my Brother and all of our families, we wish you peace.
Dr. Robert Mitten
December 8, 2011
My first game at Kenan as a 7 y.o., I remember your Dad against UT on a dreary damp gray day, he brought the team back to life...At the letterman's spring dinner several years ago, I ask him for his autograph for my 3 sons all of whom starred in football at the high school level........Your Dad was elated and acted stunned that anyone would be aware of his days at UNC. Thanks for the wonderful memories.....I will pass this obituary on to my sons
Gene Shuford
December 7, 2011
My parents Jane and David Hildebrand, of Asheville, knew Mr. Pupa through business. My father has been gone many years, but I remember that he always enjoyed spending time with him (maybe on a trout fishing stream?). My mother still speaks so fondly of him. I will mail this news to her and I know she will join me in prayers for Walt Pupa and his family.
Ellen Cole
December 6, 2011
Tommy, Eddy and Walt
So very sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. I always enjoyed the many chats that we had when I had the opportunity to visit RCC. He was a great member there and an even greater person. I know that you all will miss him as I will. You are in our prayers.
Marion & Andi Suitt
N. Myrtle Beach, SC
December 5, 2011
We are so sorry to learn of your father's passing. We have such fond memories of the Pupa family. Our parents thought the world of Walt and Betty and kept in touch for many years. We feel like they have all reunited in a much better place. We will be thinking of all of you. Much love, Jane Farmer and Patsy Farmer Andrews
December 5, 2011
I am so lucky that I was able to meet and know the great Walt Pupa at Raleigh Country Club in the last 10 years. I always enjoyed visiting with him and talking about Tar Heel sports, especially UNC football. I loved calling him "Coach Pupa" too -- his insight on so many different topics was amazing. He was very positive about everything and always wore his infectious smile. Like many others and especially his family, I will miss him very much but am very happy that he has been reunited with his beautiful wife and soulmate in heaven.
Davis Bradshaw
December 2, 2011
Tom , Wow your Dad was quite the athlete and had a rewarding life:) My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during his celebration of Life. Fondly, Terrie
December 2, 2011
I would like to send you our condolences on the passing of your father. He Lived a Wonderful Life.
David Popson
December 2, 2011
I am sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Pupa who was one of my favorite members at RCC. He was a great man that took such pleasure in his family and living. He was always smiling and I certainly enjoyed teasing him about the Hokies beating up on his beloved Tar Heel football team. He will certainly be missed by our membership and me.
December 2, 2011
Dear Tom, Walt and Eddy. Jean and I would like to send you our sincere condolences on the passing of your father. Jean and Jim Phillips
Emerald Isle, NC
December 1, 2011
I would like to express condolences for both my wife Patricia and I. Cousin Walt was a very kind and loving person. He made us feel at ease whenever we were around him. We traveled on two cruises with Walt in the last three years.Anthony will be able to tell you who I am when you see him.
John Pupa
December 1, 2011
Dear Tom, Eddy, and Walt,
I am saddened to read of the passing of your father. Please know that I am holding you close in my heart right now.
Tom and Eddy, I especially remember him coming to support us when we were involved with the NC State Little League football team. Your dad and mom were often out there at the Saturday games to support us. It was a pretty idyllic time in North Hills back in those days!
In fond memories,
Kevin Jayes
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