Gerald “Jerry” E. Ruppel 84, husband, father, brother, smart dresser, chardonnay lover, designer and accomplished traveler passed away surrounded by his loving family at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice, August 31, 2023 after suffering from a stroke, following many years of dialysis. Jerry was born on July 11th, 1939 in Sheboygan, the son of the late Marjorie Hanke.
Growing up in Sheboygan, he attended Longfellow and Farnsworth, graduating in 1957 from Central High School.
He was stationed in Virginia with the U.S. Army Reserves. Following his discharge from the Army, in 1960 he married and then pursued his passion for art; finding his way to Kohler Company in 1967. He was passionate about his work and became a leader and an innovator in the tradeshow industry; some might even say a “legendary badass”. He made lifelong friends and earned the respect of so many of his peers. He always said setting up and tearing down trade shows was “show bid’ness”. Jerry was employed at Kohler for 32 years. In 1999 he retired, and his time at Kohler made him a member of the Kohler Quarter Century Club.
Jerry adopted two girls with his first wife and together they built a dream home. The “House that Friends Built” was completed entirely with love, sweat and the tears of Jerry, his wife, kids and his close friends. The “House that Friends Built” in Black River was his crowning achievement. In 1994 the blended family became official when he married the love of his life Jackie Heinrich. They enjoyed traveling, watching movies and eating popcorn, taking walks on the beach and stopping to share a sandwich.
In his retirement years, he enjoyed updating his treasured house and Japanese garden, as well as tinkering in his garage. Not a big sports fan, but he never missed a televised Packer game. Jerry enjoyed celebrating holidays with family and putting white lights around the house. All who knew him would agree he is at those pearly gates arranging and redecorating to his keen eye…if there is carpet it will be raked daily. He will always be remembered for his farewell greeting “Ta, Ta”.
Jerry is survived by a family to which he dearly loved. Survivors include his loving wife of 29 years, Jacqueline “Jackie” Ruppel, Sheboygan; daughters, Julie (Corey) Carpenter, Sussex, WI and Jill (Robert) Levenhagen, Sheboygan; son, Greg (Adriana) Heinrich, Boca Raton, FL; sisters, Kathy (Daniel “Bud”) Herman, Sheboygan, and Lori (Steve) Hicks, Sheboygan Falls; four grandchildren, Alyssa Levenhagen, Rhett and Gavin Carpenter, and Lucas Heinrich.
Jerry is preceded in death by his parents, a sister Karen “Cookie” (Richard) Hermes, brother Richard (Nancie) Ruppel, beloved daughter Lisa Heinrich and granddaughter Amber Levenhagen.
“Condolences may be expressed online at www.reinboldfh.com.”
We would like to thank the wonderful staff at Fresenius Kidney Care where he was treated like family, Dr. Michael Johnson and staff, and Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice where he was able to pass away peacefully and without pain.
“A limb has fallen from the family tree. I keep hearing a voice that says grieve not for me. Remember the best times, the laughter and the song. The good life I lived while I was strong. My mind is at ease and the pain is now gone. Remembering that I was truly blessed and life will go on.”
As Frank Sinatra sang, “I did it my way!”