US Army

James M. Rapkoch

July 25, 1929 ~ January 20, 2022 (age 92)

Obituary

James M. Rapkoch
July 25, 1929
January 20, 2022
Loving father, beloved husband.  Jim was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, raised in Las Cruces and always kept his roots in the “Land of Enchantment”. Jim graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in biology in 1954 and was commissioned into the U.S. Army a Second Lieutenant.  He had many assignments around the world during his 21-year career.  These included Vietnam (where he earned a Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, Silver Star, 3 Bronze Stars and an Air Medal), Heidelberg Germany, Italy, Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, California and Texas as an ROTC instructor.  He retired a Lt Colonel from Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs and began a second career in property management and real estate.  He, along with his family loved the outdoors, camping, hunting and fishing for many years. He was a great provider to his family, an adventurer, traveler, a teacher of fine things, a great gourmet chef, and a wonderful story teller when it came to sharing family history.  
After retirement Jim and Wanda loved traveling by cruise ship to many parts of the world; some to revisit, others to see for the first time.  He loved traveling and was never content sitting still and watching the world pass him by.  Jim was a devout Catholic and very involved with his church, St. Patrick. He was always very proud to have been one of the original founders of the church on the planning and building committee in 1982 for the church building.  He loved family, God, and country.  
He was preceded in death by his beloved son, Michael Rockland Rapkoch and son-in-law, Scott Elligott. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Wanda, his son, Jim (Marie), and daughters, Bridget (Greg) and Maggie.  He was extremely proud to be a grandfather of seven and great-grandfather to four.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Patrick Catholic church in Colorado Springs at 1100AM on Monday 21 March, 2022.

 


Eulogy
On behalf of my Dad, James M. Rapkoch, I want to welcome all of you today.  I know Dad would be extremely honored and humbled that you came to remember him.
Dad was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, raised in Las Cruces and always kept his roots in the “Land of Enchantment”. He graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in biology in 1954 and was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a Second Lieutenant.  He had many assignments around the world during his 21-year career.  These included Vietnam (where he earned a Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, Silver Star, 3 Bronze Stars and an Air Medal), Germany, Italy, Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, California and Texas.  He retired a Lt. Colonel from Ft. Carson in 1974 as a Lieutenant Colonel and began a second career in property management and real estate. 
Stewardship Prayer: “From the first breath of our lives, You called us while in our mother’s womb to be Your own and gave us life!  As stewards of this one and only life, we embrace Your precious gift of time to spend it under Your abiding presence.
Dad spent his precious gift of time well.  92 years!
Church and God were always a central part of his life. He held all of the sacraments dear. Dad loved to explore the world with an insatiable curiosity. He loved doing things as a family. I remember as kids he would take the entire family on many road trips in our car, Diamond Rock Arizona, Canyon Texas to Las Cruces New Mexico, Germany to Barcelona Spain, Verona Italy to Lake Garda, and many more. Imagine a family of six in a VW bus or a GTO driving for hours and hours.
What I remember the most though, was that as we began each and every road trip we were all in the car together and Dad would lead us in praying the Creed, and then Our Father and Hail Mary.
He loved people and made friends everywhere.  He and mom have lifelong friends around the world!  Zuliani family in Italy, Pelzer family in Germany, and certainly his military colleagues across the nation. He talked for years about his Vietnamese counterpart, Dai Wi Hep Vietnam. As an advisor in Vietnam in 1961, part of what he did was to teach English.  I didn’t know until recently that he had my sister Bridget write letters as a pen pal to a young Vietnamese girl named Jane, so that she could learn to read and write.  What a wonderful thing!
In later years he and Mom traveled to see more of the world. One of their trips was to Turkey.  He and mom visited the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus.  Dad told us many times about an experience he had there.  When he was in the Ephesus building, (a small stone structure) he looked up at the ceiling and he saw his parents looking down at him from the ceiling.  How many people have ever had such an incredible experience?!
Dad loved the outdoors.  He enjoyed the beauty of nature and just spending time in the mountains and on the trails.  But what he loved most was sharing it with his family.  He had a wealth of knowledge and taught all of us about nature camping, fishing and hunting. He was quite proud to be the first to teach his grandsons to fish and bought them their first fishing poles.
Dad was always very proud to have been one of the original founders of St. Patrick Catholic church along with Reverend John Slattery and others. Father Slattery said, The priest has the help of the lay people of the parish, not only in carrying out the plans, but also in the decision-making process.’
Dad was one of the leaders on the planning and building committee for this church building in 1982 (40 years ago). This very structure that we all sit in today is a remembrance of him and his love of God and dedication to this church.
92 years!  I would say that he lived his precious gift of time to the fullest.
Dad, we are so proud of you and thank you for all the experiences you provided us. We love you and we miss you.
And now, that your course on Earth is run, 
May it be said, "Well done! 
Be thou at peace."
 

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Services

Funeral Mass
Monday
March 21, 2022

11:00 AM
St Patrick Roman Catholic Church
6455 Brook Park Dr
colorado springs, CO 80908

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