Walter J. Rudge, 81, of Granger, Indiana, passed away on Friday, February 7, 2020 at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, surrounded by his loving family. Walter was born on July 1, 1938 in Youngstown, Ohio, to the late Wilbur and Margaret (Kohuth) Rudge. On June 24, 1961, he married the love of his life, Nancy (Grimes) Rudge.
In addition to his wife of 58 years, Walter is survived by his sons, Michael (Lori) Rudge, Tim (Amy) Rudge, and Kevin (Camille) Rudge; eight grandchildren, Matthew (Danae), Cali, Christopher, Cate, Erin, Coco, Peyton and Shannon; and two great-grandchildren, Aubrie and Elijah.
Walter graduated from Ursuline High School and the University of Notre Dame, Class of 1960. While at Notre Dame, he was an editor for the student news magazine, Scholastic. Upon graduating with a Bachelors of Arts degree, a sales job with Lever Brothers brought him to the Albany, New York area, where he and Nancy raised their three boys.
In the 1960s, he founded the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Albany with the late Frank O’Brien. A devout Catholic, Walter loved the university and all it stood for—a love he passed on to his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed books, sports (Notre Dame, Cleveland Indians, and Boston Celtics), classical and jazz music, theater, movies, American history, and was an accomplished piano player. But more than anything, he enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his wife and constant companion, Nancy.
Walter loved the game of baseball, and, in the 1970s and 80s, he was instrumental in the organization of youth baseball in the Shenendehowa School District and Capital Region. As a manager, primarily in the Clifton Park area, he was a guiding influence in the lives of countless youth, until his retirement from coaching in 1989. In a span of nearly twenty years, his teams won numerous local and state championships, a regional championship, and two championships in the prestigious Albany Twilight League.
Walter also worked as a salesman for Hunt’s Foods, Inc. and Hallmark Cards, Inc. before starting his own business. For nearly twenty years, he co-owned and operated Village Card & Party, with multiple stores in Schenectady, New York, including in the Mohawk Mall. In 1990, Walter and Nancy moved to Granger, Indiana, to be close to their beloved Notre Dame. There, he worked for Business Systems Inc., rising to the position of vice president of sales, until his retirement in 2001.
Walter and Nancy were long-time Notre Dame football and basketball season ticket holders, attending basketball games right up to the time of Walter’s passing. For nearly thirty years, they were also fixtures at the 10 a.m. Sunday Mass at Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of Notre Dame.
In keeping with Walter’s wishes, private family services have already taken place, with entombment at Cedar Grove Cemetery on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Palmer Funeral Home--Hickey Chapel is assisting the family with arrangements.
Contributions in memory of Walter may be made to Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, 1140 W. Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60607; Boys Town, 14100 Crawford St, Boys Town, NE, 68010; or to the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County, 502 E. Sample Street, South Bend, IN 46601.
Online condolences can be left for the family at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
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