Lindsay Craig Rupple – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

Courtesy of the United States Military Academy


NO. 17862
Died 1 July 1971 at Letterman General Hospital, Presidio of San Francisco, California, aged 44 years.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery

Others in reflecting may tell of Lindsay Craig Rupple, 1927-1971, as cadet, company commander, or combat leader; and it will be a tale well-told, for Lindsay's was an Infantry officer's life well, though briefly, lived. I knew Lindsay best, however, as friend, family man, and neighbor, a “terrestrial” in Dubos' term, at ease and at home wherever he might be on the globe. It is of this Lindsay that I speak, one who was true to himself in all the plain and polished and complicated facets of his nature.

Had I ever been isolated in a survival situation, with a choice of working companion for the ordeal, Lindsay Rupple would have been the comrade of my choice for whatever period of necessary pioneering effort and for celebrating with, afterwards. Lindsay could reckon with the dangers and the opportunities alike of crises of varying magnitudes – from those, for example, of the dread disease which felled him to those of a more homely, garden variety such as kittens frozen with fear high in backyard tree tops.

Level-headed and alert, Lindsay was also quietly erudite. He kept himself informed on a variety of subjects and spoke several languages, German among them. His proficiency in the Korean language often led to escort assignments throughout the United States with dignitaries visiting from the Republic of Korea. Lindsay never failed to earn praise for himself and for the unit he might be serving at the time, such as the 22d Battle Group, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Washington, where he and I were fellow officers and near neighbors (1960-1962). The tall, slightly stooped
Kansan was equally knowledgeable about things environmental, erotic, classical, controversial, or comical. He sometimes quoted the cartoon character, “Okeechobee Joe.”

Logical and learned, Lindsay possessed a self-sufficiency which allowed him to cope equally well with  exigencies of the Service or with more mundane home emergencies such as power failure in house current or car battery. He managed well at gypsying his family around in required nomadic style. Once, he undertook, to drive cross-country with Helga, daughters Petra, Renee, and Sylvie, two family cats, and some cherished bibelots for the next residence. He made it smiling and pleasant through such an endurance run.

Courteous, masculine, efficient, Lindsay would indulge his excellent tastes only when he could do so without infringing upon the rights and pleasures of others. In fine foods, he most appreciated wife Helga's gourmet skills, yet he remained almost cadet – lean and trim. Lindsay enjoyed when he could a good Scotch, a good brandy, a good cigar.

In fact, it was months before I knew that Lindsay always parked any lighted cigar he might be carrying, before he would enter my Arlington home to visit. Only after we found cigar butts lined up on the bannister rail and others fallen into the shrubbery did we think to question Lindsay. Then, he cheerfully admitted that he preferred forsaking the smoke to risking an offense to his host. He continued to park his cigars outside in spite of our demurrers.

Lindsay's brand of forethought and care for others would indeed be an asset to look for in the person with whom one might have to face a critical situation, as it was a plus for those who knew him in everyday life. Other qualities as well made him a pleasure to know. He was a positivist, an optimist; his was a “can-do” spirit. With all his strengths, he was not a stuffy paragon. Lindsay gave way, albeit infrequently, to his moods. He sometimes moped through a “down” day; once in a while, he let the proverbial redhead's temper flare.

Lindsay's life contained a brimming share of hardships and disappointments. Yet, during the decade in which I knew, him, he handled each one as a learning exercise, or as stretching, strengthening calisthenics to prepare one for the good things to come. In 1960 I saw him bowed and almost broken with grief over the loss of an infant daughter. And I watched him then tap inner reserves of iron will and tempered-steel endurance to guide his surviving family through the sad days and to rally their flagging spirits for new adventures in the next assignment.

My deceased friend, Lindsay Craig Rupple, was a man who in today's vernacular “had it all together.”  Yet, he was a study in contrasts. Quiet, soft-spoken, often employing understatement, he was nonetheless an adept conversationalist, witty without being frenzied. Equanimity was a hallmark of the man. His courage was subdued and low-key, but abounding in quantities almost beyond measure. Lindsay was practical at the same time that he was idealistic. He was a homebody; he was a cosmopolite. He was reserved in speech, open-minded in compassion and  acceptances. Well-read, well-educated, he was acutely aware of new things to be known, and ever ready to tackle the knowing.

Because this man lived and moved where I could for a while get to know him in some of his roles as husband, father, world citizen, officer, and gentleman, my life is enriched. There must be countless others whose lives he touched who share my fond respect for Lindsay with his unobtrusive integrity. I salute him as a capable colleague, an irreplaceable friend, and a full-duty soldier on this spaceship Earth, which is a better place for Lindsay’s having lived, and the poorer for his passing. All my remaining life, I shall continue to remember him warmly and to miss him.

Joe Harper Jr.

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