George Alvey Ruppersberger, 79, salesman, singer, veteran

December 22, 2003|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

George Alvey Ruppersberger, an automotive reconditioning salesman, accomplished singer and the uncle of Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, died of complications from brain surgery Dec. 15 at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Timonium resident was 79.

Born and raised in Baltimore, the son of a meat company owner, he was a 1942 graduate of Forest Park High School and attended college preparatory classes at the McDonogh School, where he was a punter for the football team.

During World War II, he joined the Navy and served on the aircraft carrier USS Essex in the Pacific. He played flute and piccolo in the Navy band.

After the war, Mr. Ruppersberger opened a dry-cleaning business in Baltimore, which he operated until 1961, when he took a job as a salesman with B&L Sales in Baltimore, where he worked for the rest of his life.

Mr. Ruppersberger began singing seriously after a teacher told him he would never match the vocal exploits of his older brother. "It got him mad," said his niece, Carol Ruppersberger Norton of Timonium.

He served as the baritone soloist for several churches and synagogues around Baltimore. In the 1960s, he earned a scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory and trained with famed opera singer Rosa Ponselle. He later sang with the Baltimore Opera.

"His voice was a gift from heaven," said a nephew, Reese W. Ruppersberger of Towson.

In the last years of his life, he sang in the choir at Timonium United Methodist Church, where he met his third wife, Beverly Reynolds Crosier Ruppersberger. They married four years ago, and she survives him.

Mr. Ruppersberger lived in Baltimore until the 1970s, when he purchased his family's farm in Myersville. He first renovated the chicken house into a condominium, where he stayed as he finished transforming the farm's working barn into a house. The Ruppersberger family held many reunions at the house in subsequent years.

He sold the farm seven years ago and moved to Timonium.

Mr. Ruppersberger also worked on his nephew's political campaigns, providing office support, putting labels on mailings and handing out literature.

"He loved his family," Dutch Ruppersberger said. "He was always willing to lend a helping hand to anybody."

He was a member of the Sharon Lodge and the Scottish Rite and served as director of the Boumi Temple Towson Shrine Club.

Memorial services were held Saturday in Timonium.

He is also survived by a brother, C. Albert Ruppersberger of Towson; a sister, Ellen Silvers of Washington; a stepdaughter, Beverly Crosier Crowley of New Freedom, Pa.; a step-granddaughter; and five nieces and nephews.

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