Deen Arthur Ruppelius (79) passed away August 30, 2018. He was born June 11, 1939 in Kansas City Kansas to Floyd and Elfreida Ruppelius. He grew up in Olathe with his brother and two sisters in a big white house on Chestnut Street, a funeral home owned by his father, an undertaker/funeral director and his mother, a registered nurse who worked at Gardner hospital. His family also owned Ruppelius Furniture & Hardware Store in Olathe.
The South Chestnut neighborhood was full of children who grew up playing baseball, basketball, kick the can and fishing at nearby Olathe Reservoir. Deen, his siblings and friends used their 4-car garage as a roller skating rink. In those days, the main highway ran by their house at 535 S. Chestnut where truck drivers would wave to the children as they drove by or stopped at their lemonade stand.
Deen attended Olathe schools and graduated from Olathe High School in 1957. He played football, a quarterback, and basketball, one of the “Iron Five” who went undefeated in East Kansas League. Deen identified 2 teachers/coaches who were significant in his life. Bill Mace encouraged him to play football and Ralph Dennis who was not only a great coach but “a wonderful man and much admired model person”. Deen also admired Claude Harrelson, owner of an auto parts store in Olathe where he worked all through high school and college.“He always had a job for me when I came home from college.”
In high school in his Industrial Arts class, Deen built a working spinning wheel out of walnut, created on the lathe. It won first place in national competition which included $100. He always loved working on cars. With the $100, he bought a 1936 Chevy Coupe that he restored in the garage behind his parents house. He and his friends were always repairing, rebuilding and restoring cars.
Deen attended Kansas State College of Pittsburg for two years, interrupting his education when his father died in 1959 at the age of 49. That year, he met the love of his life, Sharon Miller and on June 12, 1960, at age 21, they were married. They celebrated 52 years of marriage before her death in 2012. Deen returned to college and graduated in 1962 with a BA in Industrial Technology. He then went to work for General Motors where he spent his entire career, working his way up to Superintendent of Chassis. He worked at the Leeds, MO plant for 16 years, and then spent 14 years at the Fairfax plant. The last 8 years, he was responsible for the assembly line for the Grand Prix Pontiac which became an award winning model. In 1987, GM built a new plant, and Deen was responsible for the construction of the building for assembly of motors, frames and chassis from concrete slab to finished working building. He retired in 1992, returning as a consultant/contract person for 3 years, especially during model changes.
After retirement, Deen and Sharon moved to Wagoner, Oklahoma, land of lakes and fishing. They were experts and entered into competitive fishing, winning many tournaments. In winter, they would live in Florida to continue their fishing hobby. They enjoyed lifelong friendships with a few couples with roots in Olathe.
Deen is survived by two sisters, Floy Blair, Walnut Creek, CA, and Mary Graul, Baltimore, MD; three daughters, Cheryl McEver, Olathe, KS, Karen Brazelton & her husband Donnie, Bonita Springs, FL, and Christine Hicks, Warsaw, MO; 8 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren and several nieces & nephews. He is also survived by his dear friend, Bonnie Pickert. A brother, David Ruppelius, preceded him in death in 1993.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in his behalf to: Abdallah Shrine 5300 Metcalf Ave. Overland Park, Kansas 66202 or Spring Hill Masonic Lodge #56 403 W. S. Street P.O. Box 117 Spring Hill, Kansas 66083-0117
To leave a special message for Deen’s family please use the "share memories" button above.