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Major Rudolph P. Webster
06/22/1932 — 08/11/2022
From Cle Elum, WA | Born in Dearborn County, INWatch Service Watch Graveside Service
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Celebration of Life with Military Honors
Richland, WA 99352
Richland, WA 99352
Major Rudolph P. Webster
Retired Major Rudolph Paul Webster, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, professional soldier, accomplished poet, expert hunter, snazzy dresser, legendary storyteller, and time-traveler, died on August 11, 2022.
Rudy Webster, a dichotomy of the ordinary and extraordinary, was born on June 22, 1932 in Indiana. He said this of himself in his journal: “I never realized that my life up to now had been that interesting, until starting a list of events which I have survived. I will elaborate on these as separate bits in some order from my early youth forward. I have in the past spoken of some, others I have almost forgotten about. They will include my luck in just staying alive from plain accidents and other folks trying their best to terminate my life in war. I survived 12 official major military assignments in two wars: Korea and Vietnam. I have fallen from the air a number of times: from a silo, two airplanes on the same day, two helicopter accidents and from enemy fire. I was knocked down by lightning that striked me, and dodged falling equipment that seriously injured another during my carnival days; and wrecked a car between 90 and 100 mph. I have experienced two out of body trips that I can recall. I have been the victim of a holdup, struck by a drunk sailor on a bike, jumped a parachute on a paved road between razor wire and a punji stake during the war, survived various mortar attacks, was blown over a dike in a rice paddy by RPG, wounded twice, had the fore grip shot from my rifle, and bullets left holes in my clothing, but no injury. I have tripped wire rigged by the Chicom, old-style grenades that failed to fire off. While digging a foxhole, my entrenching tool point entered an old American pineapple grenade pin loop and didn’t result in my death. This must mean that I have been a very lucky human to be here. Wouldn’t everyone agree?”
Rudy learned to hunt at a young age, to augment the meager diet of his family in the great depression. Without the means for a gun, he made his own snares and became an expert in tracking and hunting with his sling shot. Once he was able to obtain a knife, then later a gun, no animal he put his sights on was safe from his lethal skills. He took notice from the indigenous people who came before him and always expressed gratitude towards the slain animals for what they provided. He believed he had to honor them in this way. He was also an avid fisherman and taught his four grandchildren how to set up their own rigs, knot a hook and weight, hunt for nightcrawlers before dawn, and to scale and fillet a fish- if they were lucky enough to catch them.
He joined a Carnival at age 16 and left home to make his own way. During that time, he narrowly avoided a falling wire and witnessed that same wire nearly sever another’s head. Everyone around stood frozen in shock but not Rudy. He was the only one to run to the man and immediately apply pressure to the headwound. His hands held that man’s head as tight as possible until they arrived at the hospital. Rudy left to begin Army boot camp the next day. His co-worker was the first man he saved, but he wouldn’t be the last.
Rudy served a tour in Korea and two in Vietnam. For every award he received (and there were 18+ of them), from the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts, his cheerful spirit, “can-do” attitude, foresight, and ingenuity was cited in addition to the heroic acts (or- as he would say of the purple hearts- “I was unlucky twice”) that he achieved. His favorite colors were red, white, and blue- a fact he repeated to his great-grandchildren at his 90th birthday.
He never met a book he didn’t like, and was a self-taught speed reader. He obtained his college degree (more than one) while in the Army, and went on to become a successful real estate agent in California. He published his first book of poems in his 80’s and remained active in his local VFW post and American Legion until his death. He mentored and counseled countless veterans over the years, and many credited his guidance for saving their lives when they were working through PTSD and depression.
The women in his life were numerous. He particularly fancied smart and sassy women. He loved his mom, Mary Webster Mangold (deceased) so much that he made an out of body trip to visit her when he received news that she was ill while in Vietnam. His visit resulted in her recovery. He married his one and only love, Nancy Webster (deceased) and they had over 61 years together before she died. He is survived by his daughter Rose-Marie, whom he adored. He carried a photo of her in his wallet, sitting on his shoulders, from the time it was taken in the 50’s, to the time of his death. He spoke often of her, to anyone who would listen, and played her song daily the last years of his life.
Rose-Marie had four children, two daughters and two sons. His granddaughters, Shannon Hadeed and Sabrina Hadeed, were the apple of his eye. He taught them to fish, use a hammer, love nature, shoot a gun, tell a good story, and hand to hand combat. He gifted a pink handgun to Sabrina, and a revolver to Shannon, to put in their purses “just in case.” Over the years, he was their number one fan, taking great pride in their accomplishments, including publishing them in his own local paper. He delighted in spending time with his great-granddaughters, Lilah Hadeed Buck, Hazel Hadeed, Adira Hadeed-Duea, Stella Hadeed, and Ivy Hadeed-Duea. An avid dancer, he danced with his daughter, granddaughters, and granddaughters-in-law with a jaunty two-step, right up to his death.
A man among men, he also prided himself on guiding and teaching boys to become honorable, polite, outdoorsmen and just plain ole’ good men. His favorite and beloved grandsons, Jameal Rudolph Hadeed and Jowed Paul Hadeed were the greatest recipients of his diverse knowledge. While he taught them the same skills he taught his granddaughters, he also taught them what it means to keep your word, how to find the unusual in the everyday, and appreciate what you have. He didn’t teach them hand to hand combat, saying “they are big enough, they can figure out how to fight by themselves.” When Jameal shot a bear, he wanted it mounted above his bed. He was proud of them, as hard workers, family men, and fathers. He graciously accepted the challenge of molding his grandsons-in-law, Jesse Buck and Eric Hadeed Duea, when they became part of the family. He reluctantly approved of them for his precious granddaughters, saying “You’ve got a good one.”
Rudy’s heart beamed with pride with the addition of Tiann Hadeed and Porsche Hadeed, when they married his grandsons. His tutelage group grew exponentially with the addition of his great-grandsons, Josiah Hadeed, Conrad Hadeed Buck, and Harvey Hadeed. He continued to pass on his wealth of knowledge to them (and his great-grand daughters), spending time walking in the forest with Josiah and Hazel, showing them how to identify the flora and fauna, and silently watch the deer as they grazed.
A republican and avid Fox news fan, he was always interested in politics, but despised politicians, with few exceptions. He loved to say “all politicians are corrupt, what did you expect,” and would give his alternative solutions to national and international problems, if he were the one in charge. He was outraged on January 6th, and hoped out loud “all those criminals should go to jail for the rest of their miserable lives.” He voted for Barack Obama, because “it’s about time we have a black president.” He loved his former son-in-law, Anthony J. Hadeed, and respected his husband, Kevin Husted. His 90th birthday cake was commissioned by the couple, and it was a work of art. Rudy expressed at the time, “in all my 90 years, I have never seen a cake like this.”
Addicted to sugar, he loved it in every form: from milk shakes and cookies to “Redvine” licorice and jelly beans he kept on hand for himself and his youngest family members. Sabrina and Adira kept him in cookie heaven for his visits, while his daughter Rose-Marie and grandson Jameal made sure he had candy by his side. One Christmas, his granddaughter Shannon, bit the head off all his gingerbread men, in retaliation for his lawyer jokes. He continued to recount her methodical decapitation thereafter, to give him a chance to crow about her. Country fixings were a close second to his love of sugar. His wife Nancy once baked him over a hundred biscuits in a day. Homemade fried chicken, hamburger, steak cooked to a burnt crisp, and a can of pringles would bring a happy smile to his face. Over the last four years, his daughter-in-law Tiann helped him branch out to eat what he lovingly referred to as “rabbit food” such as kale and iceberg, which she cleverly disguised in delicious dishes to tempt his waning appetite. She also won his heart with her homebaked pies made with ingredients from the garden they kept together. Things like rhubarb and strawberries, which now remain in the garden to remind us what he loved.
He excelled at making everyone around him feel special, and would always take a call from his daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or friends. He had a special place in his heart for his dear friends Jim Hendrickson and Brian Cox, with whom he spoke on an almost daily basis. Brian, his “buddy” and fellow veteran was his self-appointed chauffeur and war story confidant. He loved a good “visit” and would gladly sit for hours with company swapping stories. Generous to a fault, he was known to give money to friends and family members in need, whether he had it or not, and always kept cash in his wallet- “for other people’s emergencies”.
A lifetime supporter of Westerns and NCIS, his wardrobe was a combination of outdoorsmen and cowboy. He wore black cowboy boots most of his life, one with an angel on it, and the other with a cross, to protect his every step. If he went anywhere, it was always in style, with a tie and suit, or cowboy shirt and bolero tie. In his casual attire, he always proudly wore his military hat, citing the wars he served in, with miniature medals of those he earned. He often drew crowds of people, who loved to listen to his tales of near escapes from death.
An eternal optimist, if he was awake, he was smiling. He was hospitalized for a major surgery from “stem to sternum” that would have devasted most people with pain, when asked his pain level he responded, “it smarts a bit.” During another hospitalization, he planted a fake cockroach on his bed and made the nurse jump and laugh. He had the kind of cheer and smile that was contagious, and you couldn’t help but feel better after visiting with him.
Prior to his death, at his last Thanksgiving with family, he told them to always remember how lucky they are, that he loves them, and that after he dies he will still visit, in spirit form. He told them to “expect visits from me from time to time” to check in and say hi. “I’ll always be with you.” Rudy had strict rules: when he loved, it was with all his heart, no time or space could ever stop the force of his love. He is felt still.
A big fan of pomp and circumstance, his memorial service will be a fancy affair, with respectful cowboy, red, white, and blue, or Army green attire encouraged. The service will be held on September 18th at 2:00pm, in Richland, Washington. The family expects Rudy to be present, in spirit form, as promised.
For details and livestreaming, please visit: https://www.sunsetgardenstricities.com/obituary/2022/08/rudolph-webster/
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to VFW post # 36 in Virginia, or to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Rudy was truely my best friend ever, I surely will miss him and all my calls.
Rose Marie and family: It was my pleasure to get to know Rudy when I worked for you. He had quite the life! His obituary not only gave us insight inside his life but also an update on the entire family. Sorry we are out of state so will not be able to attend the services. Rudy will be remembered fondly.
Rose Marie and family: It was my pleasure to get to know Rudy when working for you. He had quite the life! His obituary not only gave us some insight into much of his life but also an update on your family. We are out of state so will miss his services. Rudy will be remembered fondly.
It was an honor to meet Rudy and his family. Thank you for sharing your stories. You were a true American that showed his patriotism through years of service and deeds. Rest in peace.
Jack Drummond and Sue Guzek
Major Rudolph P. Webster