Patriarch Passes: Joseph Rumpelein (1940-2024)

In February, my father passed. We had a complicated relationship, as he did with his father before him. He wanted to be a professional baseball player; his dad didn’t think it was serious. Baseball didn’t pan out, and dad enlisted in the Army. He spent several years in, ending up an MP stationed at The Presidio out in San Francisco as Vietnam was heating up. Avoided getting sent over, but plenty of his buddies did. Some didn’t come back, and those that did didn’t come back the same. He never forgave LBJ.

When he got out he took some night courses and got a job as a bookkeeper, became an accountant, and by the time I remember him working was solidly in comptroller/CFO roles. I remember him working a lot. No matter how crappy things were at home, and sometimes they were remarkably crappy, that man always dragged himself out of bed and went to work.

As I got older I appreciated his work ethic more and had more use for his insights about business and finance. He never quite “got” what I did for a living – I think he felt much the way about computers that his father felt about baseball – but he did grudgingly recognize that I had somehow managed to turn into a productive human being.

I’ll miss the old man. He could be a grouch and a cynic but he was also often funny. In his prime he could add and multiply numbers in his head faster than a calculator, and he knew tax laws inside and out. He liked dogs and the Three Stooges. He was all right.