Harry G. “Rip” Rapenske of Liberty, NY, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Monday, October 26, 2020. Born in Richfield Springs, NY to Mary and John Rapenske, he was one of four brothers. In high school he excelled in football, basketball, baseball, and track for 4 years. He was recently inducted into the Richfield Springs Central School Hall of Fame. At 17 years of age he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates and played shortstop for the Hornell Braves from 1944 to 1945. In 1945 Harry served as a corporal in the U.S. Army.
In 1947 he entered NYS college at Cortland in the physical education program. In 1950, “Rip” was hired by the Columbia High School in East Greenbush, NY school district as a physical education teacher and coach of basketball and baseball. In 1951 his basketball team won the 1st sectional championship ever for Columbia High School. He was chosen coach of the year by the Albany Times Union and has since been inducted into the Columbia High School Wall of Fame. In 1956, “Rip” came to Liberty Central School, teaching physical education, as Athletic Director and coached football, basketball, and baseball. The Baseball team won Liberty’s only sectional baseball championship in 1974. He retired in 1984. He has recently been inducted into the Liberty Central School Wall of Fame. Rip managed the winning Liberty Lumber Fast Pitch Team for ten years and also ran the Fast Pitch League. Rip was a strong supporter of the Yankees, Notre Dame, Duke and Liberty Central School Athletics.
He was a dedicated fan of the Liberty sports program for many years even after his grandchildren graduated. Harry enjoyed fly fishing, hunting, camping with his family and making people laugh (most of the time). He was member of the Knights of Columbus, WSS Sportsman Club, Catskill Fly Fishing Club, Craig E Claire hunting club, and NYS Teachers Union.
Harry married his high school sweetheart, Margaret Traudt Rapenske on September 4th, 1948. They have been married for 72 happy eventful years.
Survivors include his wife, Margaret T. Rapenske at home; a son, Tom Rapenske, Irving, KY; four daughters, Janis Willman of Steamboat Springs, Colo, Linda Nash of Rock Hill, NY, Debra TerBush and her husband Tim of Liberty, NY, and Cathy Wilhelm and her husband John of Liberty, NY; four grandchildren, Andrea Black and her husband Matt, Amanda Willman, Calvin Henry and his wife Krissy, and Ryan Henry and his wife Meghan; four great grandchildren, Rylin Henry, Jordan Black, Kaden Henry, and Kalia Henry; a sister-in-law, Blanche Rapenske, a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Richard and Joan Traudt and a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Patricia and Howard Ezell and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his mother Mary Potrikus Rapenske, his father John Rapenske, three brothers, Lincoln (Emma) Rapenske, Robert Rapenske, and James (Judy) Rapenske. One granddaughter Erinn TerBush, and a sister-in-law and brother in-law Barbara (William) Gaylord.
Visitation will be private.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, October 30, 2020 at 11 AM in St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church 264 North Main Street, Liberty, NY. Father Edward Bader will officiate.
Burial will be in the Sullivan County Veteran’s Cemetery, Sunset Lake Road Liberty, NY.
Celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions in Harry’s name may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Knights of Columbus C/O St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church 262 North Main Street, Liberty, NY.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Harris Funeral Home, West St. at Buckley, Liberty, NY. www.Harris-FH.com 845-292-0001 or 845-439-5200
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