Just across the street from Salt Lake Community College’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus lives Wally Rupp, one of Taylorsville’s most influential old-timers.
Rupp was born Sept. 17, 1928 and has lived on 2200 West his entire life, except for the two years he spent in the army when he was 22 years old. In the course of his life he has touched the lives of hundreds through the work and service he has done through his church service, helping in the community, and (most of all) the time he spent as scoutmaster in the Boy Scouts of America organization.
Rupp remembers times when he was in his youth where he and his friends would play basketball on the corner of 2200 West and 4700 South. During those times there wasn’t even a stop sign at that intersection.
The day they put a stop sign there he and his friends bent the sign in half so drivers couldn’t see it. A neighbor saw them do this and threatened to tell the authorities.
In response to this threat, Rupp and his friends dug up the sign and planted it in the middle of the neighbor’s driveway. Rupp and his friends spent the afternoon the next day in jail.
Growing up, Rupp worked in the sugar beet fields in Taylorsville where he ultimately met his wife, Gloria Ashby.
Rupp found Ashby to be quite attractive and wanted to ask her out on a date. She hopped on the tractor he was about to ride into the field and they rode off together. They talked for a little while and Rupp asked Ashby if she would like to go on a date with him. She declined.
He gave her an ultimatum: either she would go on a date with him or he would hop off the tractor and leave her in the middle of the muddy field on the tractor. Ashby accepted Rupp’s offer to take her on a date. They later were married in Junction City, Kansas while Rupp was in the service. They were married for 52 years until she passed away in 2006, and had eight sons and one daughter together.
When Rupp returned home from the service, he continued to serve in his community through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, he was serving in the young men’s program.
He approached his brother who was serving as a leader in the congregation. Rupp said, “I want you to put me in as scoutmaster, but if you do I don’t ever want you to bother me again.” That is exactly what they did.
Rupp served as scoutmaster in his local ward for 55 years. During that time he helped over 200 scouts receive their Eagle Scout award.
He earned countless awards in his time as scoutmaster, including the Silver Beaver award, before ending his service three years ago at age 83.
“I’d do it over again; that’s how much I enjoyed scouting. I’d give anything if I could go on a 50 miler again,” Rupp says.
In his time living on 2200 West, Rupp saw the entire creation of SLCC’s Taylorsville Redwood Campus. He remembers when it was an open field, apple orchards, even the cellar where the north part of campus is today.
As SLCC began to expand Rupp even got involved in building it. Rupp helped to install the wooden floors of the gym in the Lifetime Activities Center when it was first being built. Rupp now goes to SLCC gym every day to exercise.
Rupp passes his time these days spending it with his family, sculpting wood carvings, working with his son, and hunting whenever he can get the chance.
Rupp has changed the lives of hundreds of people and helped countless people. He truly has been an influence for good in the Taylorsville community. It just goes to show we may never know how influential the person across the street may be.