Emil Rippcondi

Emil (“Rip”) Rippcondi of Bradenton, Fla., died peacefully the morning of Jan. 20, 2019, with his loving daughter Frances by his side.

The son of Emil Rippcondidi and Anna Ross, Emil was born on Jan. 11, 1937, in Jersey City, N.J., where he grew up with his four sisters. Restless and seeking fame and fortune, Emil joined the Air Force soon after high school.

He received technical training as an aircraft radio repairman at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. One of his crazier exploits during his early years of service was having to venture out onto the wing of a plane, during flight, to perform engine maintenance. In the late ’50s Emil was transferred to Morocco. It was during this tour of duty that he served as the radio operator on the plane ferrying U.N. peacekeeping troops in and out of the Congo after independence from Belgium resulted in civil war.

Eventually, Emil was reassigned to Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, where he met the love of his life, Janice Mosher of Martha’s Vineyard. Emil was transferred back to Keesler (family in tow!) as an instructor, where his aptitude and passion for educating others began to flourish. As his military career progressed, he was transferred again, to Patrick A.F.B., Florida, where he became a master instructor.

He was most proud of his military service during the “space race,” training operational crew members and participating in Apollo 7, the first two lunar landings (Apollo 11 and 12), and the ill-fated Apollo 13, flying in the ARIA planes, acting as communication relay between stations around the globe. In recognition of his outstanding efforts, he received the Air Force Commendation Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster, for Meritorious Service.

After his military service, Emil’s technical knowledge and educational expertise were put to great use on the Space Coast, where he continued to support a variety of emerging-technology projects. It was during this period that Emil focused his knowledge of automobiles into owning and operating a Mobil service station in Melbourne, Fla. Somehow, during all of this, he managed to support a family, serve God as a leader in his church, and get a business administration degree from Rollins College.

Emil and family did move around a tad. Serving your country creates adaptability: Missouri, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Germany. Emil would say his best decision was moving to Cumming, Ga. It was where he and Janice were finally grounded (“This is the last move,” she said). Life was settled and could be loved. More animals were cared for, service to his church continued, volunteer outreach as a court-appointed advocate for children began.

Emil retired from Hewlett-Packard, and soon after got right back at it with Daniel’s Charters. He loved working for Daniel’s. All the knowledge and skills he had gained over the years was put to great use. Building relationships, writing proposals, driving buses (impromptu tour guide for NYC? You got it!), writing manuals, teaching others to drive. He did it all. He created great friendships, the lifelong kind.

He loved his country, his friends, his family, and God.

Before it’s too late, write that book …

Emil was predeceased by his wife Janice and sister Joan Gray. He was the loving father of Frances Rippcondi and her husband, Charles Parker, of Palmetto, Fla., Wendy Colwell and her husband, Darryl Colwell, of Brandon, Fla., Janine Campbell and her husband, Bruce, of Clermont, Fla., Robert Rippcondi and his partner, Elizabeth Kane, of Vineyard Haven, and brother of Elizabeth Muchow, Janet Worman, and Nancy Montagnino. Emil was the proud grandfather of Kevin Kausch, Kirsten England and her husband, Mark, Angela Wallner and her husband, John, Kaleigh Colwell, and Adam Colwell, and great-grandfather of Skye and Elijah England and Henry Wallner.

A memorial service celebrating Emil’s life was held at Living Faith Lutheran Church in Cumming, Ga., on Jan. 26. A private, military burial service will be held this week at the Oak Grove Cemetery on State Road in Vineyard Haven.

Donations to help advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children may be made in Emil’s memory to CASA of Forsyth County, 875 Lanier 400 Pkwy., Box 7, Cumming, GA 30040.

Local arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guestbook and information.

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