Remembering Dr. Richard D. Ruppert
The Ohio Historical Society is mourning the loss of Dr. Richard “Dick” D. Ruppert, who died Monday, October 22 at the age of 81. Dick served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2002 to 2011 and as board president from 2006 to 2008. Dick’s colleagues at the Ohio Historical Society remember him as a passionate and persuasive individual whose commitment to Ohio history was unwavering.
Burt Logan, director and CEO for the Ohio Historical Society remembers Dick’s leadership: “Dick Ruppert was one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met. He was a strong advocate for his community and for Ohio history. Dick was a dedicated civic leader who gave his all to support places like Fort Meigs and the Hayes Presidential Center. He will be missed a lot in northwest Ohio and in the state capital where he spent a lot of time and energy working to get things done.”
Dick’s life was defined by his service to others. Born in Middletown, Ohio Dick was the sixth child of a family of ten children. He helped the family by working the farm five years after he graduated from high school. When Dick headed to college at Ohio State University, he intended to study agriculture, but switched focuses after he became interested in science and medicine. He stayed at Ohio State University for his medical degree, completed his residency in Chicago, and then returned to Ohio State University where he held positions as chief resident, professor of gastroenterology, assistant dean for the college of medicine, and medical director for patient services.
After establishing himself as a respected doctor and leader in the Ohio State University medical community, Dick transferred to the Toledo area to become the third president of the University of Toledo’s College of Medicine in 1977. During Dick’s 16 year tenure as president, he supervised the largest development in the college’s history and is credited with building a serious and competitive medical school. When he retired as president in 1993, Dick remained dedicated to the medical community, his hometown of Toledo, and to preserving Ohio’s history. He was a former campaign chairman for the United Way of Greater Toledo and a former president of the Toledo Rotary Club. In addition to serving as board president of the Ohio Historical Society, Dick was board president of the Fort Meigs Association.
Reflecting on Dick’s life as a whole, friends and family repeatedly speak of his zeal for life and his belief that an individual can make meaningful change. Touching so many across the state of Ohio, Dick’s presence and voice will be deeply missed.
Dick is survived by his wife of 53 years, Dr. Elizabeth Ruppert, and his four daughters, Victoria, Elizabeth, Rebecca, and Julie. The family held a private service on Saturday, October 27 at Christ Presbyterian Church in Toledo. The Ruppert family suggests tributes to the Richard D. Ruppert scholarship fund at the University of Toledo College of Medicine or the Anne Grady Prescribed Pediatric Center.