Robert O. Rude

Friday, September 11, 2015 2:01 pm

Our strong, proud, and independent father, Robert O. Rude, passed peacefully Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, after a brief stay at Hillview Nursing Home. Funeral services were Saturday, Sept. 12, at 11 a.m. at First Lutheran Church of Onalaska. Pastor Jason Stanton officiated. Burial with military honors was in the Onalaska City Cemetery. Friends called at the Schumacher-Kish Funeral & Cremation Services of Onalaska Friday, from 5 to 7 p.m. and at the church Saturday from 10 a.m. until the time of services. Memorials may be given to the Onalaska Cemetery Fund or the First Lutheran Church of Onalaska. Online guestbook is available at

Bob was born near Decorah Dec. 5, 1931, to Amelia and Herman Rude. The youngest of 10 children, Bob lost his father at a young age. While attending Decorah High School, he enjoyed and excelled in football and basketball. After graduation Bob enlisted in the Air Force and was stationed in Florida, North Korea and Oklahoma. He achieved the rank of Airman 1st Class and earned several medals including the National Defense, Korean and United Nations Service medals; he served for four years, including one year in Korea. Soon after enlisting, he met the love of his life, Virginia R. McNally (Ginny), while she attended Luther College. Married Dec. 26, 1951, at Marion Lutheran Church in Gunder, Bob and Ginny brought six children into the world and provided a loving home. They lived in Florida, Oklahoma, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin—ultimately residing in Onalaska for 49 years. Bob became a life-long Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins fan when both teams were formed while the family lived in Albert Lea, Minn. in 1961.  With his Air Force training in ground-based radio, Bob began a career with Montgomery Ward in appliance repair, eventually becoming the service manager for the La Crosse, Wis. store. After retirement he was the bar manager for the Onalaska American Legion Post 336. He served two terms as American Legion Post Commander and for many decades was a member of the Voiture 40/8. Bob and Ginny were members of First Lutheran Church in Onalaska. Ginny passed away on July 13, 2006 after 53 years of marriage. Though missing her greatly, he found comfort in tending her roses and garden beds and spending time with his family. For the last several years, Bob enjoyed visiting the Blue Moon Restaurant and Panera Bread, where he forged many friendships and was treated as a VIP. Facing health issues with determination and courage, Bob fulfilled his wish to live independently in his home until days before his passing.

Bob is survived by his children: Debra (Bob) Jecklin, Mary L. (Jim) Schleifer, Bob (Jennifer) Rude, Matthew (Rhonda) Rude, Michael (Tina) Rude, and Jon Rude; grandchildren include Claire (Jeff) Jecklin-Ellerbach, Heidi (Jonathan) Ludtke, Melanie (Michael) Cain; David Bilskemper, Erin (Carlos) Gonzalez, Jay Schleifer; Robert W. Rude, Jonathan Rude; Andrea (Justin) Wolfe, Adam Rude; Bryant (Daron) Rude, Brandon (friend, McKenzie Holthaus) Rude, and Brock Rude. Bob also is survived by six (soon to be seven) great-grandchildren. They are Minna Ludtke; Isabel, Gael and Ezequiel Gonzalez; Natalie Wolfe; and Declan Rude.

Bob is further survived by his sister, Ruth Thompson; his sisters-in-law: Arlene Rude, Dolores Varty, Patricia Smith, Betty Searles, Wanda McNally and Sandy Cutler; his brothers-in-law: Ronald McNally, John Cutler and many nieces and nephews.

In addition to his and Ginny’s parents, Bob was preceded in death by his siblings and their spouses Myron and Frances Rude, Esther and Lloyd Kjarland, Bessie Rude, Viola and Lawrence Flaskrud, Inez and Arden Hermanson, Irvin Rude, Harry Rude, Raymond Rude and Harold Thompson; sisters- and brothers-in-law who have preceded him include Mary and Alindo Blatti, Lucille and Jim Cochrane, Hugh Varty, Shirley and Don Nylund; Robert McNally; Wayne McNally, Paul Smith, Richard Searles and Sarah McNally.

Bob’s family wishes to express great appreciation to the providers and staff at Gundersen Health System, especially Dr. Bodvarssen and Marcia Kendall; the Veterans Administration; Res Care staff, especially Sharon Hein and Amy Bell; the caring staff at Hillview Nursing Home where Bob and his family received exceptional care in his final days; Hospice Social Worker Jean and Chaplain Dean.

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