Obituary & Celebration of Life: James Mahlon Rupp (1935 - 2018)
Retired CEO Midwest Communications, WCCO TV/Radio & former Board Member, King World Productions
James M. Rupp, 83 years of age, of Minnetonka, MN & Naples FL passed away at his Birdsong home in the Minneapolis area on December 28th, 2018. Jim was a television & broadcasting industry pioneer who was born on November 7, 1935, in Pocatello, Idaho to Mahlon Earl & Ila Grace Rupp & was the eldest of four children. He graduated from Idaho State University in 1957 & received a Master’s degree in Radio & TV in 1959 at Ohio State University.
Jim met his wife of 63 years, Sharon Elaine Enell at college & married in 1955 before setting out on a journey traveling the world & settling in Columbus, OH, Washington D.C. area, Atlanta, GA, New York/CT, Minneapolis, MN & Naples, FL.
Jim began his career in broadcasting in 1959 at Arbitron in Maryland, one of the first TV/Radio ratings companies. He then rose to General Manager at Cox Communications, Broadcast Division, in Atlanta where he was responsible for managing all television & radio stations and opening up their New York office. In 1978 he met with Warren Buffett who helped him find his final role as President & CEO of Midwest Communications in Minneapolis. Under Jim’s leadership, WCCO TV & Radio won awards for the very best stations in the nation. Rupp initiated one of the first US satellite teleports through Midwest Cable & was a pioneer in Satellite Music Network. He served on the boards of King World Productions (distributor of Wheel of Fortune & Oprah), United Video, American Women in Radio & TV, Science Museum of Minnesota & First Trust Company of St Paul.
Jim is survived by his wife, Sharon Elaine; daughters, Julene Adell Rupp Dasher (husband Thomas Thomson) of Chapel Hill, NC and Sandra Kay Rupp of Naples, FL; son, Steven James Rupp (wife Catherine Mary Witt) of Minnetonka, MN; grandchildren, Grant Woodson & Lily Sharon Dasher and Anna Mae, David Steven & Jonathan William Rupp; brother, Douglas Burnham Rupp; sisters, Ila Gail Fogg and Brenda Lee Busacker. Jim was preceded in death by his parents.
A Memorial Service was held on January, 19th, 2019 at Wayzata Country Club in Wayzata, MN. Private interment in Naples, FL. A smaller memorial luncheon will be held in Naples, FL during the Spring of 2019. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mayo Clinic Foundation.