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Paul W. Rupel, 67, passed away peacefully at home in Marshfield, WI with his loving wife Mary by his side after a hard-fought six-year battle with kidney cancer.
Paul was one of eight children born to Florence and Dr. John Rupel and grew up in Marshfield. As a tight-knit family they'd pile into the station wagon and enjoy many exciting road trips around the country. Paul appreciated time on his grandparents' farm and loved the camping trips spent canoeing and fishing with his siblings and cousins. After his dad built a cottage north of Tomahawk, it became the go-to spot for relaxation and fun at the lake with friends and family.
After graduating from Columbus High School in 1974 and attending Northcentral Technical College in Wausau, Paul began his 42-year-long career at Marathon Electric (now Regal Rexnord) as a Draftsman and later as a Quality Engineer. Paul loved school and took night classes for years, then an online education program with UW-Stout, graduating proudly with his second Associate's Degree in 2003.
Not only did Paul value education, he was a life-long learner outside of the classroom. He had a curious mind and loved reading about history and science, learning how to fix and build things himself, and picking up new tidbits on gardening and cooking.
Paul cultivated the same kind of curiosity within Briana and Christopher, his two children from his first marriage. Paul loved kids, and especially reveled in being an upstanding father himself, whether it was enlisting Briana to help on group bike rides, or encouraging Chris to choose his own elective classes at the UW-Extension when he was in middle school. He took pride in packing lunches every morning for the kids to take to school and cooking awesome homemade dinners like his famous grilled barbecue chicken or spinach mushroom lasagna. He encouraged their creativity, and developed their adventurous spirits by taking them camping and traveling to visit family and historic sites. Paul also loved holiday traditions and would take the kids to cut down their own Christmas tree and hand-make their Halloween costumes. He also insisted on taking them trick-or-treating — even in a snowstorm.
Bicycling was a way of life for Paul, who loved staying active. He would load up his bike with camping gear and pedal all the way up to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a favorite trip he made many times. He organized many fun cycling events as a member of the Wausau Wheelers club, and participated many years in GRABAAWR, an annual week-long 500 mile ride along the Wisconsin River. He happily biked to work (before it was cool!).
In 2004, Paul reconnected with a good friend from High School, Mary Wix, and their old friendship quickly kindled into a deep, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love and admiration. They shared many years of laughs, concerts, and long Sunday drives exploring the state before marrying on a Florida beach in 2016. Paul and Mary were the love of each other's lives, and they enjoyed the simplicity of quiet moments at home as well as annual vacations watching sea turtles in Florida and camping on the Chippewa Flowage up north with family.
Paul had a never-ending list of "all-time favorite" songs — he appreciated all genres of music and always found depth of meaning in song lyrics. He loved photography, always capturing great candid shots as well as thoughtfully positioned landscapes. Paul also loved digging in the dirt and had prolific gardens for years. Every spring he couldn't wait to get his hands on the new seed catalogs, and he would always try to grow something new each year in addition to the old standbys.
Paul and his gentle presence, intelligent wit, and whole-hearted compassion will be greatly remembered, yet forever missed by his surviving loved ones: his devoted wife, Mary Rupel; his children Briana and Chris Rupel; his stepson, Ben Rock; and his siblings and their spouses: Ann Rupel, Bill Rupel, Nancy (Steve) Kelso, Maren (Jeff) Trader, Karen (Greg) Heiman, Tom (Jeanne) Rupel, and Jane Rupel. Paul also had a special relationship with his wife's family, and is survived by his in-laws Terri (Tom) Dums, Laurie (Jerry) Olsen, Gordon Jr. (Mary) Wix, Kelly (Scotti Kunkel) Bohman, Tracey (Gary) Hamlin, and Frank (Will Meister) Wix. Paul will forever be remembered by all of his nieces and nephews for his sense of humor and caring nature. He is also survived by numerous cousins, extended family and friends, and his beloved Golden Retrievers Ellie and Boomer.
Paul is preceded in death by his loving parents, Florence and Dr. John Rupel; his sister-in-law, Joanne Rupel; his parents-in-law, Gordon and Blanche Wix; his best friend John McNamara; and his and Mary's pups over the Rainbow Bridge: Vladdy, Max, Ziva, and Abby.
A celebration of Paul's life will be held on Friday, November 10. Anyone who would like to pay their respects is welcome to attend a visitation from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Hansen-Schilling Funeral Home (1010 East Veterans Parkway, Marshfield).
Paul's family would like to thank Dr. Fagbemi, the nurses — especially Kathy and Mike — and the whole oncology team who truly cared for Paul throughout this fight.
"Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."
- Garrison Keillor
"We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden"
- Joni Mitchell