Disabilities Advocate ‘Deane’ Ruppert Dies at 86


Naomi “Deane” Ruppert, long-time UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries supporter and former CEO of the United Church of Christ’s Emmaus Homes in Missouri, died Sept. 14, 2017, at her home in the Cambridge Independent Living Center in Springfield, Mo. She was 86.

Ruppert spent her career advocating for and helping people with developmental disabilities. She often called her time with Emmaus Homes her “most loved” job, as she derived great pleasure from helping others and was, as Emmaus Home staff noted, devoted to her clients.

“Deane was a tireless advocate, both for Emmaus Homes and the UCC’s health and human service ministries,” said Michael Readinger, president and CEO of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries. “She continued to show her passion long after her retirement, as a constant supporter and Legacy Leader of CHHSM.”

Ruppert’s personality and drive led to a renaissance in the UCC’s health and human service ministries. “Deanne Ruppert was a light-hearted, hilarious and compassionate leader whose fiery red hair matched her passion for service,” remembers Bryan Sickbert, CHHSM’s former president and CEO. “She was also a lip reader par excellance. If you discounted her in anyway because of her hearing impairment, it was at your peril. She missed nothing! Angels, prepare to be entertained and enlightened.”

Born Jan. 17, 1931, in Springfield, Mo., Ruppert earned a Master’s degree in special education from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and did her doctoral work at Quincy (Ill.) University.

She was proceeded in death by her husband, Frank Ruppert.

A memorial service for Ruppert will be held Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. at Bethel Lutheran Church in St. Louis. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Gathering Friends for the Homeless, 1430 E. Sunshine, Springfield, MO 65804.

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