Before he passed away on Jan. 5 at the age of 90, Charles “Chuck” Rupp made sure three of his final wishes were known.
One was completed Thursday night when Rupp’s wife of 62 years, Donna, donated $5,000 to the Tomah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1382.
Chuck Rupp’s niece, Luann Hubert, and nephew, Stephen Hubert, accompanied her.
Donating was his wish, Donna Rupp said.
“We didn’t have any kids and we both worked and we saved money,” she said. “When he got his life insurance he said, ‘I want you to give that to the VFW, American Legion and we gave a donation to Chasing Daylight (Animal Shelter), because he was an animal lover.”
They were the three loves of his life, besides Donna, niece Luann Hubert said.
“One of the most remarkable things is when he was in the hospital and he told the doctor that he had everything set ... he had a lawyer write it up that the three loves of his life, the American Legion, the VFW and Chasing Daylight,” she said.
It was bittersweet giving the donation to the VFW, Luann Hubert said.
“Before he’d talk about it so fondly and exactly what his wishes were and stuff, but when the reality hits you that we’re putting it in motion it’s pretty difficult,” she said. “But he’s with us and smiling down on us.”
It felt great, Stephen Hubert said.
“I think it’s ... awesome, I do,” he said. “I didn’t serve myself. I ended up in college, stayed out of the Vietnam War by the time I was out, so I really appreciate those that have served and do serve.”
Chuck Rupp was proud of his time in the Army, Luann Hubert said.
“What I remember most is when he’d wear his hat or have some indication that he was in the service, people would say, ‘Thank you for serving’ or whatever, and he’d say, ‘I was proud to serve,’” she said. “He always spoke with a lot of respect.”
Donna Rupp agreed.
“Chuck was always very proud to have served his country and his motto was, ‘Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,’” she said.
It meant a lot to receive the donation, VFW quartermaster John Rusch said.
“It shows, first of all, the family is very appreciative of the VFW, and a Korean War vet, he certainly qualified,” he said. “It’s quite an honor for us and for them.”
The funds will be used to purchase a gun safe and to make repairs and maintain the VFW post building, said Pete Henning, commander and Chuck Rupp’s great-nephew.
“He was an avid hunter and we’ve been broken into a few times in the last couple years and our gun safe’s always been broke into, so in memory of him we’re going to buy a big gun safe to make us more secure,” he said.
Chuck Rupp served in the U.S. Army from when he was drafted in 1951 until he was honorably discharged in 1953 as a staff sergeant.
In 1952 he was flown into the combat zone in Korea where he remained until he was rotated back to the U.S. in January 1953.
He was awarded the Korean Service Medal, three bronze stars, the United Nations Service Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Also, in 1953, Chuck Rupp met his future wife at a bar, but it was not the first time they’ve seen each other, Donna Rupp said.
“When I was in first grade we lived in the same neighborhood, we both went to the same school,” she said. “He was in about the third or fourth grade and I was in first grade, but I didn’t really know him then but he always said he remembers me, because I was just a little shrimp, skinny thing. Then we ended up together.”
They married on Jan. 29, 1955 and were inseparable, Donna Rupp said.
“We farmed and we worked, we went fishing and hunting, we did everything together,” she said.
After the Army, Chuck Rupp worked for a trucking outfit, until he had heart trouble, and then worked in the maintenance department in the school system for about 18 years until his retirement in 1988.