Freddie (Fred) Eugene Ruppenthal
Freddie (Fred) Eugene Ruppenthal (Lt. Col, Retired), age 88, hometowns Myerstown, Pa., and Berkeley Springs, W.Va., passed away peacefully in Tucson, Ariz., on April 1, 2023.
Fred was born on June 27, 1934, in Lebanon, Pa. He was the oldest of seven children to the late Frederick Paul Ruppenthal and Jessie Mae (Fox) Ruppenthal.
A 1952 graduate of the former Myerstown High School, Fred married his high school sweetheart, Shirley (Ranaldi) Ruppenthal on October 17, 1955. On that same day, Fred was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and received his Pilot Wings.
Fred had a long career in the Air Force. He flew KC-97 refueling planes, served active duty in the Vietnam War, and in the 1970s served as a U.S. Liaison in Seoul, South Korea, where he was honored for hosting President Gerald Ford during his visit. Fred was also a test engineer for the development of the first U.S. military drones. Fred traveled all over the world during his Air Force career, instilling his passion for travel and learning about new places in his family. Fred planned and spent his free time going on many camping and road trips with family and friends, Christmas holidays in Mexico and hiking Mt. Whitney with his son.
Upon retiring from the Air Force, he moved back to Myerstown to spend time with his extended family. During this time, he became interested in genealogy focusing on the Ruppenthal and Fox families. He loved spending time in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., where he spent many of his childhood years and had many relatives and school friends. He volunteered with the Berkeley Springs Historical Society, spending months mapping old cemeteries with the available county records, tying this work into his genealogy research. Fred was a lifetime member of the American Legion and was active in the Eastern Lebanon County Lions Clubs and the VFW. He also served as the Director of the Lebanon County Visitors Bureau, where he helped start the Lebanon Bologna Festival that still runs to this day. He was also a proud supporter of the Wounded Warriors Project.
Fred was loved dearly by many. In 2015, he and Shirley moved to Tucson, Ariz., to be closer to their kids and granddaughter. They lived in an active independent adult community. There, Fred was known as a friend to all. He loved to make people laugh, share stories and play bridge. He was known as a gentle and honorable man.
Fred is survived by his son, Tom Ruppenthal, and his wife Jenna Marvin; his daughter, Nancy Ruppenthal, and grandchild, Emily Kotay. He is also survived by his three brothers Arthur, Robert and Jeff Ruppenthal, all of Lebanon County, Pa.; his two sisters Ernestine Nelson of Lebanon, Pa., and Jane Scine of New Jersey, and his sister-in-law Beverly Strickler of Myerstown, Pa.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley; his sister Patricia Meyer of North Carolina, and his good friend, Mick Henry, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
Fred, along with his wife Shirley, will be buried at the Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, Pa.; the date to be determined.