William Rudloff

William Rudloff

William E. “Bill” Rudloff Jr., 94, of Jefferson City died Sept. 23. Bill was born in St. Louis on Jan. 31, 1926, to William E. “Rudy” and Ella (Bretthorst) Rudloff and loved telling stories about his childhood in Cincinnati.

Upon graduation from high school with a superior aptitude for math, he joined the Army Air Corps in 1944 and was in the bomber flight cadet training program when World War II ended. He married Irene L. Klusmeyer in 1946 and after Bill spent a short career in construction work, the couple worked as a team in a life of farming near New Franklin. After retirement from farming, Bill and Irene lived in Sedalia from 2000 to 2018 and Jefferson City until the present.

Bill was active in his community and church. At various times he served as president of the New Franklin United Church of Christ, president of the New Franklin school board, a Freemason for 70 years and Worshipful Master of Howard Lodge No. 4 of the Masonic Lodge, Worthy Patron of the New Franklin Eastern Star Lodge, board member of the Howard County Farm and Home Administration board and a member of the Howard County Farm Bureau board.

He was one of the original board members of the Howard/Cooper County Port Authority and served as its executive director for several years. Bill served for a few years as an organizer and master of ceremonies of the annual Santa Fe Trail Days celebration in New Franklin, taking special pride in introducing a youngster who was a local singing talent, Sara Evans, and telling the crowd that “someday she’ll be a star.”

Bill was instrumental in organizing the Covered Bridge Estates Homeowners Association in Sedalia and served at its secretary-treasurer for several years. He had additional careers as a farm manager (Gentry Estill farm north of New Franklin) and in real estate sales. He specialized in selling farm and rural properties, closing his last farm sale at the age of 91. He sold a farm near Sedalia to the Jay Vang family, who were from Laos and were moved by the U.S. government to America as a result of Jay’s involvement in the Vietnam War. After the sale, Bill spent a considerable amount of time helping Jay and other relatives learn Midwest farming techniques while building a long-lasting friendship with the families.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents; brother John W. “Jack” Rudloff; half-brother Wilfred Rudloff; son-in-law Tim Roesle; and grandson Christopher Nacy. Survivors include his wife, Irene, of Jefferson City; son Steven Rudloff, and his wife, Anika, of Jefferson City; and daughter Sue Roesle of St. Joseph. Another “adopted” son is Richard “Dick” Noland. Dick and his wife, KawanJa, live in Merriam, Kansas, and he has fond memories of living in a supportive family environment with Bill, Irene, Steve and Sue for several years during his youth. Bill also has eight grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

The family will have a private memorial and burial service at a later date. Condolences may be sent to the family at Markland-Yager Funeral Home, P. O. Box 126, New Franklin, MO 65274 or online condolences to www.markland-yager.com. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association, New Franklin, in care of the funeral home.

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