Joseph P. Rumberger Jr.

Below me now is Africa.A moment agoThere was nothing in sight but the sea.Now the green waves have given wayTo green-like gray…-JP Rumberger, Jr., 1948MIDDLETOWN, CT -- Joseph P. "Joe" Rumberger, Jr. passed away on October 22 at age 92. Born February 6, 1926 in DeLand Florida to Joseph Paul and Christine (Dale) Rumberger, Joe spent most of his early life in Depression-era central Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lock Haven High School, Joe earned a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Naval Science at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1946 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a Master's Degree in Anthropology and Linguistics a year later. He served in the United States Navy's V-12 officer training program, was a member of both the Psi Upsilon fraternity and the renowned Mask and Wig musical comedy group. After Penn, Joe received a fellowship to study linguistics at the University of Indiana, where he was recommended to be one of two Americans to work on the East African Groundnut Project, a post-WWII British agricultural program in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). Originally hired to teach English to locals, Joe quickly became proficient in the native language, Swahili, and was assigned to teach it to new arrivals working on the project. His love of the language endured throughout his life, and he taught it for many years at Johns Hopkins and Wesleyan universities. Joe won a Fulbright Scholarship to the London School of Economics, where he received a second Master's in Anthropology in 1951. His travels eventually took him to Washington DC, where he worked at the at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the Institute for Defense Analyses. There he met his beloved Trudy, whom he married in 1961. Joe next became Director of Personnel at Johns Hopkins' Homewood campus, and he and Trudy moved to Ruxton, MD to raise their four boys. He later served in the same capacity at Hopkins Hospital. In 1977, he became Director of Personnel at Wesleyan, and made Middletown his family's home for the rest of his life. Joe served as Board President for the Rushford Center for addiction treatment, on the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) pension fund, Middletown Housing Partnership, and city Affirmative Action Monitoring Committee. He sang in the South Congregational Church choir and was active in the Middletown Rotary and Conversational clubs. In addition to teaching Swahili, Joe and Trudy hosted many gatherings for Wesleyan students preparing for or returning from studies in East Africa. Joe had a deep and abiding love for poetry, and enjoyed writing his 400-plus-page memoir on his trusty tablet. He also loved his many Scrabble games with Trudy, and spending time with his children and grandchildren. In addition to his wife of 57 years, Gertrude (Bowen), Joe is survived by: Tim and Kim of Hyannis, MA, James and Ann of Madison, CT, John of Middletown; seven grandchildren: Austen, Brant, Kyle, Julia, Allie, Patrick and Maggie, and nephew Andy. He was predeceased by son Tommy and brother Andy.Memorial contributions may be made to: Shining Hope for Communities, 175 Varick St, 5th Fl New York, NY 10014 https://support.shininghopeforcommunities.org, or the Rushford Center, 1250 Silver St, Middletown, CT 06457. In accordance with his final wishes, Joe's body has been donated to the UCONN Medical Center. A memorial service will be held in December in Middletown.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now
28°