Maureen P. "Pat" Ruppar, a former Williamsville Central School Board member who was active in numerous community groups, died Monday (Oct. 15, 2001) at her Williamsville home after becoming ill earlier in the day at work. She was 58.
Mrs. Ruppar, a native of Port Townsend, Wash., was a real estate agent with Hunt Real Estate for the last eight years.
Before her two daughters were born, she worked during the 1970s as a legal secretary for the law firms of Hodgson Russ and Kavinoky & Cook and for three years was vice president of Buffalo Business Publications, which published the Buffalo Law Journal.
Before moving to Buffalo in 1971, she trained race horses in Los Angeles and other locations on the West Coast.
Mrs. Ruppar was a former president of the PTA at Williamsville's Forest Elementary School, a board member of the Amherst Girls Softball League and was active in the PTAs at Mill Middle School and Williamsville South High School, the Williamsville Music Boosters and the Girl Scouts. She was vice president of the Williamsville Education Foundation, a private fund-raising organization for the Williamsville schools, and a member of the Town-School Citizens Advisory Task Force.
When Mrs. Ruppar was elected to the Williamsville School Board in 1992, the district was engulfed in an emotional dispute over the role of religion in schools.
The following year, she charged in a letter to newspapers that six board members met in private caucuses and then came to board meetings "with their minds made up" about the board's search for a superintendent to replace Howard E. Welker, who had died of a heart attack.
Two of the six board members sought to have Mrs. Ruppar censured for allegedly revealing "confidential information," but their effort was turned down by acting State Education Commissioner Thomas E. Sheldon. He ruled that the information in her letter, "whether true or false, was not confidential information, but rather a matter of public interest."
Mrs. Ruppar, the former Maureen Murphy, attended the University of Washington and the University at Buffalo and was a novice in the Carmelite Order of Nuns.
She is survived by her husband of 30 years, Peter G., and two daughters, Andrea L. of Seattle and Sharon E., a student at UB.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9 a.m. Saturday in SS. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 5480 Main St., Williamsville. Burial will be in the church cemetery.