Melvin E. Rupp Jr., 68, the retired owner of a heavy equipment rental firm and minor league hockey coach, died Sunday, July 13, 2003, in his summer home in Grand Island, NY. He was a resident of Tequesta, FL.
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, he began working full time for Rupp Rental & Sales shortly after attending Clarkson College and the University of Buffalo.
The business was started in 1932 by his father, Melvin E. Rupp Sr. Over the years he worked in all aspects of the business. His love was working with equipment, and he was well-known worldwide for his ability to modify machines to meet customers’ requirements.
During his tenure as president, the company grew from 50 to more than 200 employees throughout New York State.
Rupp was past president of the Construction Exchange of Buffalo, member of the Associated General Contractors, Associated Equipment Distributors, past President of the Komatsu Dealers’ Council for the USA, and a long time member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 17.
An avid boater, Rupp was past commodore and life member of the Buffalo Launch Club and a past commodore of the District 3 Blue Gavel.
In addition to all his business responsibilities, he enjoyed working with youth. Rupp started coaching hockey in 1975, and for the next 25 years, he coached every age group of youth players at the Wheatfield Blades Hockey Association.
He also was team manager of the Grand Island Varsity Hockey team for four years. He was a past president of the Wheatfield Blades organization, and attained a Level 5 certification through the Canadian coaching system.
Rupp played on the “50 and over” Bakewell Buddies hockey team. Due to his dedication to teaching minor league hockey, he was awarded the J. Michael Duffett award by the Buffalo Sabres in 1996.
In his later years, Rupp also was active with the Boys & Girls Clubs in Tonawanda, NY, and Hobe Sound, FL.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Patricia, of Tequesta, FL; three sons, Melvin III “Chip” of Grand Island, Michael of Williamsville, and Andrew of Tonawanda; a daughter, Chere, of Grand Island; mother, Rose, of Florida; a brother, William of Florida; two sisters, Claire Ann Bishop, of Grand Island and Sandy, of Florida; and six grandchildren.
A service was held at St. Stephens Roman Catholic Church, 2100 Baseline Rd., Grand Island, NY.