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Veteran excelled as engineer, father, traveler

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Roger L. Rueckl, 83, of Washington Township, died Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mary Rueckl remembers her father as an engineer with an “engineer’s mind.”

“He was very analytic and organized,” she said. “He liked thinking about things and creating things. He was a busy britches. He couldn’t sit still for the life of him.”

Daughter Ann Puntel said she sees traits of her father the engineer in her children.

“My oldest son is very much like my father was,” Puntel said. “He has that mathematical mind.”

Roger L. Rueckl of Washington Township died Tuesday, July 19, 2016, at Monroeville’s ManorCare Health Services of complications from dementia. He was 83.

Mr. Rueckl was born Feb. 6, 1933, in Luxemburg, Wis., the son of the late Edmund A. and Verna Miller Rueckl. Mr. Rueckl served as an Army clerk on U.S. soil during the Korean War, and used the GI Bill to pay for college at the University of Wisconsin. After graduating, he and his wife, Joan, moved to Monroeville so he could work as a metallurgic engineer for U.S. Steel.

He left the job in 1985 to own and operate a metallurgic consulting firm, Reserve Technology, until he retired in 2010. Mr. Rueckl held 12 patents related to steel manufacturing.

When he wasn’t working, Mr. Rueckl enjoyed woodworking and collecting antique clocks. His daughters said his collection included clocks dating to 1790 and many from the 1800s.

He loved to travel and visited 47 states, Canada and Mexico, family members said.

Mary Rueckl said one of her father’s fondest memories was a nine-week road trip their family took in the summer of 1973. The family of seven and a dog traversed 40 states with a travel trailer.

“He said it was the best trip he ever took,” his daughter said. “I marveled he could pull that off.”

She was greatly impacted by the way Mr. Rueckl raised her and her siblings, Mary Rueckl said.

“He was tough. He taught his four daughters to be very independent, for us to think for ourselves, figure things out,” she said. “He was very loving, but he really strived for us to be self-sufficient and independent.”

Mr. Rueckl was preceded in death by his wife, Joan M. Hoida Rueckl.

He is survived by four daughters, Mary Rueckl of Washington Township, Beth and husband, John Ferri, of Murrysville, Barbara and husband, Garry Higgins, of Brewer, Maine, Ann and husband, Robert Puntel, of Phoenix, Ariz.; a son, John Rueckl of Hershey; 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in Curran-Shaffer Funeral Home and Crematory, 100 Owens View Ave., Apollo. A Mass of Christian Burial will be delivered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. James Roman Catholic Church, Apollo. Burial will be in Grandview Cemetery, Export.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, One Oxford Centre, 301 Grant St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219, or to Action for Animals Humane Society, 386 Route 217, Latrobe, PA 15650.

Natalie Wickman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at [email protected].

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