Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What Ever Happened to Rip Van Roo?

Whenever a group of people get together at a reunion and reminisce, there are bound to be "whatever happened to?" questions. Rip Van Roo, who attended Madison Central High School in the ninth grade and then transferred to West the following year, was one former classmate whose name came up during such a discussion. Most people knew that Rip had died, but few had seen his obituary. Ed Nelson, however, had not only seen it, but he'd clipped it out and saved it for more than 40 years. Ed mailed me the obituary, which I've scanned and posted below:

This obituary was originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal in April 18, 1965. At this time, obituaries were still “news stories,” written by newspaper staff, not families.


D Strand said...

Thank you, Nadine, for posting this. As I communicated to you some time ago, I remembered "Rip" and thought that his article belonged on this blog. He was a fun, smart guy. I wish he hadn't gone to West. East is a beast, West is a pest, good ole Central is(was) the best!!

Jane (Greeley) Murray said...

Wow, the net is incredible! I am Rip's little sister Jane. Saw your blog while surfing the net and I couldn't believe my eyes!

I was so little when he died, but I certainly do remember him as a fun and smart guy just as D. Strand described him. I often wonder if he wouldn't have been on the top of the heap of internet/computer gurus in today's world....That would certainly been something at which he would have excelled.

My mom and sister now live in Bradenton, FL and I live near Ft. Lauderdale. We all do miss Madison and especially the people there - it will always be home.

Thanks for posting - it's comforting to know his friends still remember him.

Jane Murray

D Strand said...

You have my, and I'm sure all my classmates' sympathy for Rip's passing. I'll never forget how stunned and saddened we all were when it happened, but we were all in ninth grade; we really didn't know how to deal with something like that. I'm sure you and your family had a difficult time. If Nadine's posting and my comments gave you some comfort, that makes us feel very good!
I remember Rip as a Civics genius, too! I think he knew more about politics in ninth grade than most adults do! The two most knowledgable people in the class about government were Rip and Mr. Winger, our teacher! God Bless!

D Strand said...

Correction! We were in twelfth grade when we heard about Rip's accident and passing, not ninth grade! It was ninth grade when most of us at Central last saw him, though! Even though we were now three years more mature, supposedly we still didn't know how to react to it!

Ed Nelson said...

Hi Jane,

I knew Rip pretty well in grade school. There's no doubt that he would have landed at the top of the creative / professional heap. He had the highest test scores of any of the kids in our grade - at least according to a comment Miss Gruber (our science teacher) let slip. Smarter even than Michael Fullwood - later of Harvard Law and points east. By 8th grade Rip could explain the workings of the telephone switching system and was tapping telephones. Your uncle Bob would have been proud. In the event, he was one of the people who would have made this a better world - and had fun doing it. His passing was a tremendous loss. Ed