Bob Rupp can sure tell a story.
Whether it’s about his 34 years as a respected state trooper or his days fighting crime as Benton County sheriff, the longtime lawman remembers the slightest details of a storied career that spanned more than four decades.
The oldest living retired state trooper and Kennewick native will celebrate his 100th birthday at the Canyon Lakes Manor retirement home.
He knows his party from 2 to 4 p.m. is certain to be a blowout.
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“I think half the county is invited,” Rupp said Monday after enjoying a late lunch at his complex.
Rupp has been a staple in the Tri-Cities community where he was born and raised. He has participated in a laundry list of organizations, including the Tri-City Cancer Center, Kiwanis Club, Retired Public Employees Association, Ye Old Car Club and others.
He is also a lifetime member and supporter of Kennewick First United Methodist Church.
Rupp spent a majority of his time with the State Patrol stationed in Tacoma, returning to Kennewick for five years before retiring as a lieutenant in 1974. He called returning to Eastern Washington a dream of his.
Rupp followed in the footsteps on his older brothers, Boyd and Ward, who also had careers in law enforcement. Boyd was a 30-year trooper and Ward was Kennewick police chief and sheriff of Ferry County.
Their parents, George and Nannie, have been called Kennewick pioneers, raising four children in the area. George came to Kennewick in 1911 working as a shovel operator for Northern Pacific Railway and Nannie was from the pioneer Connell-Hatton family.
Rupp ran for sheriff shortly after retirement and was elected to three consecutive terms. During his time in office, he helped to modernize the entire department.
The former sheriff was able to get the Benton County Justice Center, including the jail, built under his watch, his family said. He also added a reserve unit, started marine patrols and got a new fleet of vehicles.
Rupp even helped secure a plane for the department that was confiscated in a drug bust. He retired in 1987 after 12 years and has stayed out of law enforcement since.
“I really had a good department,” he said. “I am proud of it.”
Rupp is proud of a lot and has many memories from his 46 years in law enforcement, he said. One of his proudest moments is helping to solve the case of a missing Roselyn woman who it was discovered had been killed.
Rupp also got the chance to provide security to a handful of presidents. He was in the first car to legally drive across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge when it opened in 1950 and was again among the first to cross when it reopened in 2007. He was also honored in 2007 as the oldest living retired trooper.
These days Rupp is enjoying life at the retirement home where he tries to cruise around on his souped-up golf cart as much as possible. Other than a broken hip in March, Rupp is in good health, his family said.
He still gets visits from his three living children, Christine Green, Bill Rupp and Bobbi Lochansky. His son Roger died in 2010 and wife Alice passed away in 2007.
“He can still keep a crowd of 600 people entertained,” Lochansky said.
The party Tuesday is open to public and community members are encouraged to attend. For more information call the retirement home at 509-586-5633.