Photo 90th Division Assn.
Posted - 04/23/2016 : 11:24:15
| Rupert E. Mansell died peacefully in his home on October 18, 2015. Rupert was born in Oklahoma on January 28, 1920 to Ike and Lula (nee: Caldwell) Mansell, one of nine children.
He started school at Lake Valley School in Wa****a County Oklahoma. The family then moved near Mt. Zion, where he attended a two room school six miles east of Rocky, Oklahoma. He graduated from Rocky High School in 1940. He attended Cameron Jr. College in Lawton Oklahoma 1940 – 1941. After one year at Cameron Jr. College, he went to work for Lockheed Aircraft in California until Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In January of 1942, Rupert volunteered for the Army and was assigned to the 343rd Field Artillery Battalion, of the 90th Infantry Division as a Forward Observer for the Artillery. Rupert landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was hit with artillery shrapnel on November 13, 1944 near the Rhine River, Germany. He spent the next six week in an outpost hospital, receiving blood and blood plasma transfusions as well as a series of surgeries. Rupert remained in the field hospital until the Battle of the Bulge made it necessary for the hospital to move closer to the fighting line and wounded soldiers. At that time, he was moved to a hospital in Hampshire, England on December 22, 1944 where he received further intensive care. In April, 1945 he was flown to Winter General Hospital, Topeka, Kansas where he endured further surgeries. This was the first time that Rupert had been out of a full body cast since he was hit by shrapnel. In September, 1945, he was transferred to Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas where he underwent extensive care that included bone alignment, bone and skin grafts. Rupert sent a total of six years in the Army, three years, two months, and six days of which were spent in Army Hospitals. He was discharged from the Army Hospital and the Army in January, 1948 with a combat disability rating of 100%. During his combat duty, he received the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
After discharge from the Army, Rupert enrolled in Pre-Veterinary Medicine at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO. After the University received his medical records from the Army hospital, he was informed that due to his extensive injuries, the University would not permit him to pursue a degree in Veterinary Medicine and that his disability would not allow him to work. He then went to the Veterans Administration in Denver and asked that his disability rating of 100% be reduced because he wanted to work. He transferred to New Mexico A & M (now New Mexico State University) where he earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Agriculture Education. He taught Agriculture and was the FFA Advisor in Elida, NM for three years. In 1955, he transferred to Las Cruces High School where he taught Vocational Agriculture and was the FFA Advisor for 27 years. Rupert retired from teaching 1982 after 30 years.
On December 20, 1951 Rupert married LaNelda Kleiner. They had three children, Randel, Twila and Cheryl. He taught them about agriculture in high school as well as at home and to always be good stewards of the land.
Rupert always enjoyed teaching. After retirement, he enjoyed the successes of many former students that would call, or drop by for a visit.
Rupert leaves a message of appreciation to students and the parents that sent their sons and daughters to his class, the community that supported the Vocational Agricultural FFA Program for the 27 years he taught in the Las Cruces Schools. To these he says “Thanks for a job well done. Thank for all the memories”.
Rupert was preceded in death by his mother and father and his eight brothers and sisters.
Rupert is survived by his wife of 64 years, La Nelda (Kleiner), son Randel Mansell (Cammy) of Ft. Sumner, NM, daughter Twila Leierer (David) of Branch, AR, and daughter Cheryl Smith (Chuck) of Boerne, TX., grandchildren Brice Mansell and Lindsay Mansell and great grandson Eli Washburn.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Rupert E. Mansell Leadership in Agriculture Scholarship, FFA Chapter Las Cruces High School, Las Cruces NM.
Funeral services will be on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at 10:00 AM at Getz Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery.