Cover photo for Frances "Fran" Ruplinger's Obituary
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Frances "Fran" Ruplinger

December 28, 1932 — April 20, 2023

Frances “Fran” Ruplinger (Pernsteiner), 90, passed away on April 20, 2023 in Sussex, WI. She was born on December 28, 1932, in Medford, WI, to Emil and Elsie Pernsteiner. Frances was preceded in death by her husband John Ruplinger and is survived by her sons Mark and Peter Ruplinger, granddaughters Nora and Nita Ruplinger, a great-granddaughter, and a number of beloved siblings, in-laws, nieces, and nephews, and friends.

Frances lived a fulfilling life and will be deeply missed by her loved ones. Always one to do her own thing, she served in the Navy in the 1950s where she was part of the WAVES. After coming back to Wisconsin, she eventually met her husband, John, in the Wisconsin Go Hiking Club and had two sons who were born into hiking and camping trips all across Wisconsin. With Fran being one of ten siblings, family events like weddings and family reunions were always filled with fun, laughter, and love.

Fran was a bus driver for 40 years for a number of schools around the Hartland area. Many recognized her wherever we went, and we often heard “Your mom drove me when I was a kid” and then “She drove my kids too!” She also took on additional jobs working in restaurants. In high school, if I didn’t hear a story about her bus driving adventures, I would hear a story from classmates who worked with her at the restaurant, like the time they raced lobsters in the walk-in cooler on New Year’s Eve.

And if that wasn’t enough, she loved bike riding and spent most of her free time exploring the beautiful trails and back roads of Southeastern Wisconsin; 80 to 100 miles at a time. I can’t even recall how many times she would let us know of another reporter who stopped her and wrote an article about her. “She seems to be everywhere. Even out on the loneliest of country roads, there’s Ruplinger teetering on her bike in the distance, peering over the dirty dome of her plastic bug shield – and pedaling. Always pedaling.” (Andy Schatschneider, 30West Magazine, 2014)

Quite the artist, she created her own unique style of caricature drawings, clay and woodwork, and stone art she made from smoothed rocks and glass she collected from the shore of Lake Michigan. She also enjoyed gardening, raising our pet geese, and later, after she could no longer spend days on her bike, fixing and trading puzzles with her friends and family, and thrift stores. She loved a good find at the thrift stores.

With her adventurous spirit, one-of-a-kind personality, and sense of humor, there were, of course, stories. When I told people about her latest adventures, things she had said, or things she had done, most people would first laugh then look at me in disbelief as if that really couldn’t have happened. That is, until they met her. Then everything made perfect sense.

She was definitely one-of-a-kind in the best way possible and will be remembered forever by those who had the privilege of getting to know her. We will endlessly be grateful for her spirit, her humor, her strength, and for always being herself. Pedal on mom, you will be deeply missed.

The Memorial Mass for Fran will on Friday May 19, 2023, at 11:00 AM at St. Charles Catholic Church (313 Circle Dr.) Hartland with Fr. Ariel Orozco officiating. Visitation will be at the church from 10:00 AM until the time of mass. Due to construction at the church please park in the northeast parking lot.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to any charity of your choice. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Frances "Fran" Ruplinger, please visit our flower store.

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Friday, May 19, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Mass

Friday, May 19, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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