He has fought the good fight, he has finished his course, Wayne has kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give Wayne at that day. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Wayne D. Ruppel, 78, peacefully died Monday, June 3, 2019, surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home in La Crosse.
Wayne, the son of Edward and Doloris (Pautz), was born in Collins, Wis., at the home of his grandparents, Otto and Martha (Olm) Pautz. The family moved to Sheboygan, Wis., where Wayne attended Trinity Lutheran School, North High School and Lakeland College.
In 1961, he married Joan Nyenhuis at the Oostburg Christian Reformed Church in a service officiated by the Rev. Gerald Nyenhuis and the Rev. Bernard Van Someren.
After graduating with his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, Wayne worked at the Kohler Co. In 1965, he moved his family to La Crosse and began working at the G. Heileman Brewing Co. He started as a bench chemist and grew with the company, eventually becoming its Corporate Vice President of Quality Assurance. Wayne oversaw all of Heileman's labs, in its breweries located around the U.S. and internationally, including those in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Maryland, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Washington, Oregon, and Denmark. Under his direction, Heileman built a new lab and yeast culture room in La Crosse. Wayne also designed, built, and put into operation the brewery's own waste water treatment plant, which was completed in 1981 and considered to be the first of its kind in the nation. He was a charter member of the La Crosse-Winona section of the American Chemical Society and a member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Joan; their children, Wendy (Troy) Blewett, Michael (Carol) Ruppel and Tara (Robert) Geske; grandchildren, Ashley Ruppel, Colin Burney, Nicholas Ruppel, Karsten Geske and Aunika Geske; stepgrandchildren, Elizabeth (Chad) Enright and Bradley Arnold; stepgreat-grandchildren, Isabelle Enright and Abigail Enright; and brother, Wallace Ruppel.
Wayne was a member of Faith Lutheran Church. For over 40 years, he served the Lord in church as an Elder, sang in the choir and taught Sunday school and Confirmation class.
Wayne enjoyed woodworking and designed and built heirloom projects. He was also an accomplished trumpet player and played professionally with the Reggie Barber Orchestra and the Wuerl Band.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and his grandparents, Christian and Amelia (Weber) Ruppel and Otto and Martha (Olm) Pautz.
Wayne's life was celebrated in a private family committal service at the Garden Mausoleum at Oak Grove Cemetery in La Crosse.