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School 14

       


Rudolf "Rudi" Peter Vrugtman

February 17, 1947 ~ December 24, 2018 (age 71)
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Rudolf “Rudi” Peter Vrugtman

February 17, 1947 – December 24, 2018 (age 71)

 

Rudolf “Rudi” Peter Vrugtman, 71, of Staunton, VA, passed away quietly at Shenandoah House on the campus of Augusta Health Center a little after 10:00 p.m. on Monday, December 24, 2018.  He had received visits from family members, including grandchildren and other visitors on Sunday and Monday; and his wife and sister were with him at the time of his death.

Rudi was born February 17, 1947, in Voorburg, The Netherlands, son of Daniel Hendrik and Aagje (Schuddeboom) Vrugtman, both of whom predeceased him. He first came to the United States as an exchange student at the age of 17 and was fortunate to have the William L. Davis family of St. Louis, Missouri, assigned as his host.  From the first, Rudi was considered another son and brother; and Rudi and “Dad Davis” (president, Emerson Electric) and the rest of the family have remained close.

After high school graduation, Rudi returned to The Netherlands, where he graduated from the Free University (Amsterdam) in 1969. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Washington University (St. Louis, MO) in 1970; CLU and ChFC (insurance/financial advising) designations at American College (Bryn Mawr, PA) in 1980 and 1983, and an MBA (finance) at Webster University (St. Louis, MO) in 1994. He also completed the coursework for a PhD at the University of Missouri-St. Louis but did not complete the dissertation because he cared about “the knowledge, not the credential.”

At the time of his death, Rudi had been a naturalized citizen of the U.S. for more than 40 years. In 1973, he married Elizabeth Hollomon, who survives, along with their two children: Daniel Vrugtman and Margaret “Yvonne” (Ian) Featherer. Rudi married Rosanne (Goad) Bennett in 1998, and they had been married for 20 years at the time of his death. Rudi is also survived by two grandchildren, Cali and Zane; a brother, Hendrik “Harri” (Yolanda) Vrugtman; a sister, Gerda (Hans) DeVries; two nephews, Robert (Angelica) Vrugtman and Arnold (Daphne) DeVries; a niece, Monique (Richard) Timmermans; great-nephews and nieces, cousins and other family members. He was also greatly beloved by Rosanne’s family, including siblings and spouses, nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family members.

Rudi had acquired a great many skills and a vast store of knowledge from his long experience as a successful business entrepreneur, manager and consultant; financial advisor, accountant, trainer and professor. For more than 20 years, he taught business courses at Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis County, MO. He also wrote the textbook entitled Starting a Chiropractic Practice, which was used at Logan and numerous other chiropractic colleges and universities around the country. His last position before his first so-called “retirement” was as budget director for a multi-million dollar educational grant program administered by the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

In 2012, Rudi and Rosanne moved to Bonita Springs, FL, where he worked as a small business consultant for clients of the Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University. After his second so-called “retirement” in early 2017, Rudi and Rosanne relocated to Staunton, VA, where Rudi served as professor (accounting, finance, statistics) and advisor to the College of Business and Professional Studies at Mary Baldwin University.

On the day he received his terminal diagnosis (September 2018), he was forced to withdraw from his classes at MBU mid-term. He later said that was the hardest thing he had ever had to do. Rudi was an extraordinarily gifted teacher who loved sharing the skills and knowledge he had gained through his rich and varied life experience, extensive education and lifelong learning efforts. Late in November, he sent his clients an email formally announcing the end of his professional career after 51 years. That, too, was difficult for him.

Because he made it a point to learn and use the names of everyone he met and to engage with them about themselves, few ever realized that Rudi was a true introvert. He was never a “joiner” but was a long-time member of NAEA and MoSEA (tax preparers). He was also very proud of his decades-long service as Scout Master and member of the Boy Scouts Eagle Board in St. Louis. As a young man, he had earned the equivalent of Eagle status in The Netherlands; and he proudly displayed the red velvet ribbon for that achievement in his office to his last day.

Rudi’s primary “hobby” was always his work, though he enjoyed Sudoku, especially the advanced puzzles. He also had a lifelong love for and fascination with airplanes. He learned to fly when he was 13, and for many years flew for Emerson Electric executives, then later for his own businesses. He loved Glenn Miller and big band and swing music. He couldn’t resist singing along, though he was so tone deaf that even his grade school music teacher had instructed him just to “sit there and listen.”

He was an avid reader, his favorite books being massive hard-cover biographies of world leaders and military figures. He was a great student of history, especially of the World War II era, in part because both of his parents were interned in prisoner of war camps for three years after the Indonesian village where they lived was overrun and its residents taken captive by the Japanese. Both parents survived the war and Rudi was born a year after they were reunited. With a characteristic smirk, he often admitted he was “SNDW”—“sonny never done wrong”—which explains so much about him to those who were fortunate enough to have known him.

Rudi had a natural ability to inspire confidence; when he was in the room, he was in charge by acclamation or default. He never compared himself to others and was never concerned with others’ judgments or what they thought of him. He did what he thought was right, and the rest—as he often said—was “not my problem.”

Because Rudi was never one to bask in or talk about his own accomplishments, listing his many, many life achievements would require tracking down the 1000s of students, clients and colleagues he served over the years. What pleased him most was advising and guiding others to achieve their dreams. It was not uncommon for people, at first meeting him, to find his forthright and direct communication style off-putting. It was also not uncommon for these same people to become fast friends—even fervent fans—as they came to appreciate his rational, honest, no-nonsense approach to life, relationships and problems.

Over the decades, so many among his family members, friends and acquaintances have leaned on him for guidance and good counsel. Not having him here to listen and advise will seem strange and will be a great loss to all.

Rudi was aware of and very grateful to all those who took care of him during his last weeks at Augusta Health Center and Shenandoah House, where he was surrounded by amazing doctors, nurses, attendants, social workers, volunteers and so many others who seemed to enjoy visiting and spending time with him. He was sorry not to have a chance to spend more time with the hospice volunteer who visited him daily, and was very touched that one of the parking attendants at the health center took the time to visit him, both in the hospital and at the hospice facility.

None who ever encountered Rudi went away untouched by him. Ever modest and typically cynical about modern social media, Rudi was often heard to declare: “Everyone has a right to be forgotten.” Those who knew and loved him would say: “Good luck with that.”

 

A CELEBRATION OF LIFE to honor Rudi will be held on Sunday, January 6, 2018 at:

 

Charlton and Groome Funeral Home
619 Lifecore Drive
Fishersville, VA 22939

Phone: 540-932-3600

 

Visitation

11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

 

CELEBRATION

12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

At Rudi’s request, no funeral or formal officiation. Those in attendance will be invited to share their memories of him.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to:

Hospice of the Shenandoah, c/o Augusta Health Foundation
P. O. Box 1000, Fishersville VA 22939
Web: https://augustahealth.thankyou4caring.org

Or:

Zane Grey’s West Society Endowment Fund

ATTN: Sheryle Hodapp, Secretary-Treasurer

15 Deer Oaks Dr. Pleasant, CA 94588-8236

 

Or:

Gather together the people you love the most and have a rare steak and a Scotch and water tall at your favorite restaurant in Rudi’s memory


Donations may be made to:

Hospice of the Shenandoah, c/o Augusta Health Foundation
P. O. Box 1000, Fishersville VA 22939
Web: https://augustahealth.thankyou4caring.org.

Zane Grey's West Society Endowment Fund, ATTN: Sheryle Hodapp, Secretary-Treasurer
15 Deer Oaks Drive,, Pleasant CA 94588-8236
Email: charltongroome@aol.com


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