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Published: Tuesday, 11/5/2002

Veteran worked in pharmaceutical, chemical fields

John W. Rupp, whose family operated a prominent retail and wholesale pharmacy business in downtown Toledo until the early 1950s, and who worked in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries for decades after that, died Friday in a Columbus hospital. He was 75.

Mr. Rupp died of complications from surgery Oct. 25 to remove a bowel obstruction, said his brother, Thomas F. Rupp of Sylvania.

From an early age, John Rupp helped his father, Walding George Rupp, in the Rupp & Bowman business, which supplied drugs and medical supplies to doctors, dentists, and hospitals throughout the Toledo area along with being a retail pharmacy.

While studying pharmacy at the University of Toledo, he was drafted into the Navy during the Korean War. After a one-year hitch, he returned to college and completed his degree in 1954. He then went to work as a Rupp & Bowman salesman.

Walding Rupp had died in 1953, however, and his mother, Helen, sold the Rupp interest in the business to a family friend. After John Rupp married Elizabeth “Betty” Mercer, then the personnel director at Toledo Hospital, in 1955, he left Rupp & Bowman to take a job with Upjohn in Detroit.

Mr. Rupp later worked for a short time at Armour Chemical in Chicago, before moving to Columbus in 1963 to work as a pharmacist. In 1979, he hired on with the Chemical Abstracts Service, a research information firm also based in Columbus, from which he retired in 1990.

As a child, Mr. Rupp enjoyed sailing during his family's vacations at a summer home near Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island.

As an adult, his brother said, he was mainly involved with his children, noting that son David M. Rupp rose through the Boy Scouts to attain the rank of Eagle.

Mr. Rupp is survived by his wife of 47 years, Elizabeth; sons, David and Douglas Rupp; sister, Barbara Weiant; brother, Thomas F., and three grandchildren.

The family will receive friends after 6 p.m. today at Schoedinger Funeral Service Northwest Chapel, 1740 Zollinger Rd., Columbus. Memorial services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow in Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2070 Ridgecliff Rd., Columbus.

The family requests tributes to the American Heart Association or a charity of the donor's choice.

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