Victor “Vic” Franklin Ruppert Jr., 83, of Onaway, died unexpectedly at home Sunday, December 24, 2023. Born in Sand Lake July 19, 1940, Victor was the son of Victor F. and Helen L. (Hardy) Ruppert. Raised near Grand Rapids, he graduated from John Ball High School in 1958 and went on to join the United States Army. He served from October of 1958 until his honorable discharge July 12, 1961 and received a Letter of Commendation from his superior officer for his “ability to get the job done and cope with different problems distinguishing him as a man of quick and wise decisions. Vic exemplified all the qualities found in a superior soldier, including diligence and ability, practical and technical knowledge, unwavering attention to detail, and unswerving loyalty contributing to his team’s ability to maintain the highest standards of proficiency.”
Victor married Shirley Mae Mynard January 25, 1976, in Las Vegas; they were married for nearly 47 years at the time of Shirley’s death September 26, 2022. It was not long after they married that Vic and Shirley moved from Grand Haven to Onaway where they lived at the Onaway State Park. Vic worked as the park manager for the next 14 years before being transferred to the Traverse City State Park from where he retired in 1994.
Strong in his Christian faith, Victor was a longtime member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Onaway. He was very involved in church activities, including serving as church financial secretary and head trustee. There were many things Vic did around the church that most aren’t aware of as he was quite thoughtful and devoted much time to making repairs and doing maintenance. He truly loved Holy Cross and his church family. Vic was a member of the Black Lake Sportsmen’s Club for many years and was active with Onaway Sports Boosters where he ran the chains at countless home football games.
Well-known and well-liked in the community, Victor had his routine; each morning he made his way to the corner store to fetch a paper and had a cup of coffee with the other regulars while they discussed whatever was going on that day in the world or in town. He did his banking several times each week where he visited with the tellers and was a regular customer at Woodwinds. He quite often went for walks, stopping to chat with others along the way. Each Sunday he went to the Arkwood Farm for dinner with Vic, Hope, and his grandchildren and enjoyed family gatherings and holidays with the Graingers and Arkwoods. Vic was content to spend hours tinkering on projects in his garage or spend the afternoon sitting on the front porch watching the cars go by. He loved watching his grandkids play sports and enjoyed going to their school activities, not to mention, he was a big help taking them to and from practice while their parents were working.
Devoted to his family, Vic was a wonderful husband to Shirley. They loved going for rides, often having lunch, or doing some shopping while they were out and about. In October of this year, Victor donated the enormous spruce tree from his yard in memory of Shirley to be the state of Michigan’s official Christmas tree. He and his family, traveled to Lansing for the tree-lighting ceremony and parade to kick off the Christmas season. He was a proud father and a loving grandfather who would do anything to help his family. And though he enjoyed helping others, Vic had a bit of a stubborn streak and was very independent, never wanting to trouble anyone or ask for help when he needed it. He was kind, caring, and had a huge heart for helping others. Though he was quiet and reserved, Vic was friendly and had a good sense of humor.
Deeply saddened by his sudden passing, Vic is survived by his son, Vic (Hope) Ruppert of Onaway; stepson, Tony (Tracy) Harfert of Greenville; and sister, Janet Veenstra of Gurnee, Illinois. He also leaves six grandchildren, Madison, Cody and Andrea Ruppert, and Brett (Makayla), Nick and Keith Harfert; as well as two great-grandchildren, Owen and Milo; and his brother-in-law, James Mynard and sister-in-law, Mary Lou Porter, both of Sawyer. Vic was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley.
Visitation was held at Chagnon Funeral Home December 28, 2023, followed by the funeral service and military honors Friday, December 29, 2023, at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Victor’s final resting place will be at North Allis Township Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy please consider a donation in memory of Victor to Holy Cross Lutheran Church or the Onaway Ambulance Equipment Fund.