Lonnie R. Rubis
Lonnie Rubis, of San Tan Valley, AZ, formerly of Waukesha, WI, passed away peacefully early on Christmas Eve morning at Sherman House Hospice at the age of 80 years young.
Lonnie is survived by his wife of 43 fun- filled years, Connie along with his children Jarret (Kristen), Jason (Jennifer), Jessica (Jesse) Chase, Derek Rubis and grandchildren Alexandra Brewer, Sydney, Isabella, Harrison and Cy Rubis. He is further survived by his five sisters, Vicki (Joe) Pung, Andrea (Dale) Arnold, Joy (Jim) Sovada, Marsha (Tom) Lehn, and Jeanne (Ross) Edmundson. He was preceded in death by his parents, Fanny and Lyle Rubis.
Lonnie was born in Storm Lake, IA, and raised in Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota where he wrestled for 4 years winning the Big Ten at his weight class. A 1963 edition of Sports Illustrated highlighted Lonnie, noting he “won 19 straight matches in spite of being so nearsighted that he couldn’t see his opponent’s face. “I watch his stomach,” says Rubis… “He can’t fool me with any false motions there.”
Lonnie was a member of the Phi Psi fraternity whose friendships continue after 60 years. After his eligibility was done, he transferred to St. Cloud to actually study and received his degree in teaching. He was an assistant wrestling coach while at St. Cloud. Additionally, he was an alternate in the Olympics for Greco Roman wrestling.
Lonnie began his teaching career at Wausau High School in Wausau, WI, teaching physical education. He transferred to the “new” high school Wausau West where he and Lowell Johnson won a national award for their development of life time sports. They taught downhill & cross country skiing, curling, orienteering, golf among other sports. Lonnie also coached wrestling, football and of course he volunteered to coach golf.
While waiting for his summer position to begin, he was driving Connie “nuts” and she made him go to Manpower for an interim job. This position led him to be offered a supervisory position at the first US plant for Fiskars and he left his teaching position behind. After transferring to the Milwaukee/Waukesha area, Lonnie found his favorite manufacturing/industry position at Pfister & Vogel Tannery where he was basically a chemist adjusting the formulas for the tanning of the hides. This, after he failed chemistry in college and needed to change his major from pre-med to physical education. !
Lonnie was a long-time member of St. Williams Parish in Waukesha where he went through the RCIA process, was a RCIA sponsor, Eucharist Minister, and coordinated the Agape dinner for St. Williams. In retirement, he also provided transportation to medical appointments for seniors for 10 years. Lonnie was a member of Waukesha Newcomers that became the Grub Club due to on-going friendships.
Most importantly, Lonnie was a carefree, kind, caring and loving man who valued his time with his wife, children, grandchildren, family and friends who became family. We will so miss his crooked smile, twinkling eyes (if you could see that they were open), fun- filled spirit, and warrior attitude (proving the physicians wrong numerous times). Besides wrestling, he loved golf, dancing, new adventures and sitting in the sun on his patio (which normally led to a nap).
An outdoor memorial celebration will be held in Arizona in the near future. The funeral mass and celebration of Lonnie will be held at St. William’s Catholic Church, Waukesha, WI, at a later date when safe to gather. There will be no visitation, but rather a sharing of memories and Lonnie stories prior to mass, so keep notes of what you would like to share.
In lieu of flowers, we would prefer donations in Lonnie’s memory to:
Mayo Clinic Development Office
Cardiology Research in AZ in honor of Dr. Julie Rosenthal
200 1st ST SW
Rochester, MN 55905
Amyloidosis Support Groups, Inc.
232 Orchard Dr.
Wood Dale, IL 60191