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Friday, May 6, 2016

Rupp marks 25th anniversary as deacon

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Deacon LeRoy Rupp
On June 23, Deacon LeRoy Rupp of Cherokee will mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Deacon Rupp was the first - and thus far, the only - deacon to serve the Cherokee parish.

Rupp, the eighth of twelve children of Mr. and Mrs. Fred N. Rupp, was born on a farm east of Maryhill on Sept. 9, 1929, and the family moved to a Rupp family farm one mile west of Cherokee when LeRoy was six months old.

All of the children, including LeRoy, attended the Immaculate Conception School in Cherokee, and LeRoy graduated from I.C. High School in 1948.

That November, he entered the United States Navy and served aboard the USS Brush for 3 1/2 years. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the USS Brush was already in the Far East and sailed for Korea when war broke out. While off the coast of Korea, the ship struck an underwater mine and the ship was badly damaged. Fourteen of LeRoy Rupp's shipmates were killed in the explosion and another 20 were injured. A large plate of steel was placed over the hole in the ship during dry-dock repair at a Japanese shipyard, and the USS Brush was then sent to the shipyard at Bremerton, Wash for overhaul. Deacon Rupp said the surviving members of the USS Brush crew have held a reunion for the last 20 years, and he and his wife Bonnie have attended 16 of those reunions. This year, they will be traveling to Norfolk, Va. for the reunion and next year's is scheduled for Milwaukee, Wis.

LeRoy was discharged from the Navy in November 1952 and returned to the family farm. He and his wife Bonnie were married on Aug. 20, 1953. He began working at Walnut Grove Products in 1960, and Bonnie began working at the Mental Health Institute. The family farm was sold in 1963, and the Rupps moved to 309 N. 11th Street in Cherokee, where LeRoy and Bonnie still reside. The Rupps had four children - daughters Deborah (Halder) and Roxanne (Moller) and sons Kyle and Kurt, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in March 1981 - "a sad day for the family," said LeRoy. LeRoy and Bonnie Rupp have six grandchildren and also have twin great-great grandchildren.

LeRoy Rupp became interested in the Deacon program through friends who were serving as deacons, and his first class was on his 50th birthday, in September 1979. Classes were held every Monday night from September through June in Storm Lake, and Bonnie Rupp also attended the classes. LeRoy was ordained a Deacon at the Cathedral in Sioux City on June 23, 1983.

He and Bonnie started doing service work in the parish during their second year of studies, and they began visiting residents at four nursing homes in the parish, something they have continued to do for 26 years. When LeRoy retired from Walnut Grove in 1991, he was assigned the added duty of visiting parish shut-ins.

Two of Deacon Rupp's highlights of his 25 years of serving the parish, he said, were "having the honor of marrying my son son Kyle and his wife Jody, and my granddaughter Rachel and her husband Cody." Deacon Rupp said he has also married four nieces and several of his friends, and baptized three grandchildren , as well as 20 other babies in the parish.

He helps at two masses each weekend.

Rupp has also been active in the Cherokee Knights of Columbus for many years, and has served as the Grand Knight for two years. The Cherokee Knights of Columbus will be hosting a reception in Deacon Rupp's honor on July 12.

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