Hamilton’s oldest retired officer, World War II veteran dies at 93

Hamilton’s oldest retired police officer has died.

Craig V. Ruppert, who served as a police officer from 1950 to 1979, died Saturday in his Hamilton home. He was 93.

He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was stationed at Pearl Harbor. When he got out of the Navy he became a Hamilton police officer. He also was a Kentucky Colonel and belonged to the American Legion Post No. 104 in Sevierville, Tenn.

His survivors include his sons, Don (Rebecca) Ruppert and Ronald C. Ruppert; grandchildren, Tracy Ruppert Simmons, Michal Scott Ruppert and Jason Ruppert; five great grandchildren; very special friend, Geri Meyers. He was preceded in death by his parents, Norman and Helen Ruppert; wife, Thelma (Sis) Ruppert.

Ruppert’s father was a Cincinnati police officer and he always said he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, said Don Ruppert, 68.

Ruppert’s first day on the job was memorable, his son said. A pedestrian was struck and killed by a stream train at Fourth and High streets and Ruppert’s job was collecting the body parts.

“Welcome to the Hamilton Police Department,” his son said.

Growing up a cop’s kid provided its benefits and challenges, Don Ruppert said. When he was in elementary school, his father gave him rides to school on his police officer motorcycle. “I thought I was hot stuff,” he said.

But when he did “stupid little things” as a teenager, and was picked up by a Hamilton police officer, he “begged” them to take him to a holding cell until his father “cooled down.”

His father never whipped him.

“Lord knows I deserved it a few times,” he said with a laugh. “You had to be super sneaky if you were a cop’s kid.”

Growing up in the 1960s, Don Ruppert said a lot of young boys imitated the Beatles, who invaded the U.S. in 1964. Don Ruppert said he let his hair grow out, something his father didn’t like.

So one day he walked two miles to the barber shop and had “a little cut off.” When he got home, his dad told him: “I thought I told you to get a haircut. Go back and get the rest of it cut.”

Don’s older brother, Ron, 71, also owned a pair of black suede boots like the Beatles wore. Knowing his father wouldn’t approve, he hid them under the front seat of his car. One day, his father took the car to get gas and the boots slid out. He cut up the boots and placed them on top of the garbage can.

When Don Ruppert asked what he’ll miss the most about his father, there was a long pause. “Just being with him,” he said, his voice trailing off. “He was cool. I thought he was a cool dad. He was funny until the end.”

A visitation will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at Brown Dawson Flick Funeral Home, 330 Pershing Ave., Hamilton. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice of Cincinnati and the Hamilton Police Retirement Fund.

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