Lee Rudie, 76, of Coon Valley, passed away peacefully on Sunday, April 11, 2021 at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, WI following complications from a serious injury he sustained during a fall at his home. He was born on February 26, 1945 in Houston, TX. He grew up in Coon Valley on the Blihovde homestead. As the only child of Kenneth and Olive (Blihovde) Rudie, he helped on the family farm during his childhood and into adulthood. After graduating from Westby High School, he loved hauling milk on his milk route. Lee proudly served combat in the United States Army with the 566th Transportation Unit during the Vietnam War. He was a proud veteran and a member of the American Legion Post 116 in Coon Valley. After returning from Vietnam, he opened Lee’s Bar in Coon Valley and then drove semi-truck for Gateway Foods until he retired.
Lee enjoyed trap shooting, fast cars, fishing, technology, and camping. He married the love of his life Mary Devine on September 24, 1966 at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. During their 41 years of marriage, he and Mary enjoyed raising their sons, running their business, building their home, buying and selling antiques, gardening, hosting parties, dreaming and planning for retirement, and spending time with family, especially their grandchildren.
When Mary became ill, they enjoyed time with family, going out for meals with friends, and spent most of their time in the valley marveling at the breathtaking views, birds, and wildlife. One of Lee’s greatest regrets was putting off their grand travel plans until retirement and missing their chance to follow their dreams. Lee devoted his time to lovingly caring for Mary in their home until she died on March 13, 2008.
After a major truck accident in 2013, Lee lived out his final years at home with his beloved fur babies, Spud and Little One. He spent his time surfing the internet, tending to his house plants, feeding birds, and watching television, while impatiently longing for the day when Mary would meet him at the pearly gates, take his hand, and they would finally be together for eternity.
Lee is survived by two sons: John (Sara) Rudie of Chaseburg, WI and Shawn (Heather) Rudie of Norway, Iowa. He also leaves behind his heartbroken grandchildren: Taylor (Tom Bernsdorf) Van Voorhis of Hokah, Jacob Van Voorhis of LaCrosse, Sierra (Ben Parmenter) Ebert of Fort Myers, Sawyer Rudie, and Mia Rudie and one great granddaughter, Sadie. He will be missed by his close friends Shirley, Nancy, and Martina as well as his Honorary Pallbearers: Cory Leis, Marty Withington, Kyle Allen, Dr. Abraham Van Voorhis, and Rex Gabrielson.
He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, aunt Marilouise Stigen, aunts, uncles, cousins, many extended family members, and “damn near every friend” he ever had.
The family would like to express their appreciation to the Palliative Care team at Gundersen for their tender care and support during his final days and would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to Dr. Kyla Lee for her many years of devotion, support, wisdom, guidance, and love she provided to the Rudie family.
Memorial services will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, April 16, 2021 at the Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley. Pastor Julie Wollman will officiate with military honors following at Legion Post 116. A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. until time of the service at the funeral home. Memorials may be directed to the Coon Valley American Legion Post 116, Coon Valley Lutheran Church, or the La Crescent Animal Rescue.
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